Experts say Panhandle ‘should not be impacted’ by any power outages during this winter storm
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - With temperature dropping and snow accumulating, some may be concerned about potential power outages.
The power is running in the Panhandle and both Xcel Energy and Atmos Energy expect it to continue throughout this winter storm.
Xcel Energy says this round of extreme cold weather has the community concerned over what happened last year, but says we should not be impacted as we are in connection with the Southwest Power Pool, not the ERCOT grid.
“We are on a separate power grid from the rest of Texas and so a lot of those issues were south of us last year, we’re a lot better winterized and weatherized with our power plants here,” said Wes Reeves, spokesman, Xcel Energy, Texas and New Mexico.
Reeves says the Panhandle did suffer last year from a lack of natural gas supply, but says he hasn’t seen any concerns this time around.
“We do have options of course if we run low on that supply, we can use fuel oil and some of our gas fired power plants,” said Reeves.
Along with Xcel, Atmos Energy says it’s working around the clock as well, ensuring workers are on standby.
“If any issues were to pick them up, but you know, as far as we know, our system is running great right now. And like I said, we don’t anticipate any issues,” said Michael Gonzales, public affairs manager, Atmos Energy.
Xcel says they have also stockpiled a lot of supplies and have taken them to areas where it expects more crew to be on call.
Xcel says there is a nationwide increase in the cost of natural gas, due to supply and demand issues, it says with these higher natural gas prices, an average residential customer in Texas and New Mexico who uses the same amount of energy this Winter, as last Winter will see an increase in their bills.
Reeves says making a few small changed in energy use habits can help save money:
- Let sunlight in and keep the cold out- Open blinds when the sun is out and close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside
- Lower your thermostat- During Winter months, set the thermostat between 65 to 70 degrees, while you are home, and 58 degrees when you’re away
- Make sure exterior doors are fully closed
- Use fans to your advantage- During colder months, run fans clockwise, so the warm air is forced down
- Lower your water heater’s temperature- The proper temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit and by lowering it 10 degrees, you can save 3 to 5 percent on your water heating costs
- Don’t let heat escape- Have your home evaluated for leaky ducts, drafts around doors and windows, fireplace damper and other places where air could escape
- Improve Insulation- By improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors and heating ducts is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs, saving you up to 10 percent on your monthly energy bill
Xcel also encourages the community to report any outages that may occur:
- Xcel Energy mobile app on iOS and Android
- Online at xcelenergy.com/out
- Text ‘OUT’ to 98936 to report an outage, or text ‘STAT’ to the same number to check the status of a power outage
- Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts
Some other ways its encouraging customers to prepare and stay safe are:
- Stay away from downed power lines and if you come across one report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999
- Build a home emergency kit in the case of a power outage
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