Customers encouraged to stay safe, crews are ready to respond
With frigid temperatures expected this weekend and throughout next week, Xcel Energy reminds customers to think about what they would do when severe winter weather hits and offers tips for cold weather safety.
If using a space heater, take care to ensure safety as more than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year in the United States, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. When using a space heater, make sure the heater has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, and read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Additionally, inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections; don’t use it if they are frayed, worn or damaged. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and don’t go to sleep with a space heater on.
Stay informed -- Sign up for outage notifications
Snow and ice can cause electrical outages and it’s important for customers to have access to the most recent updates about their power restoration. Customers can sign up for outage notifications through the My Account feature on the Xcel Energy website or by downloading the mobile app available on iOS and Android. Additionally, the website hosts an outage map that displays information on the number of customers out and anticipated time for restoration. Customers can also stay informed by following Xcel Energy on Facebook and Twitter.
Report your outage
Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by reporting outages. Customers have a number of ways to report their outage.
• Text OUT to 98936 to report an outage or text STAT to check the status of your outage.
• Via the Xcel Energy mobile app available on iOS and Android
• Online at xcelenergy.com/out
• Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts — the automated phone reporting system lets customers report outages in less than 60 seconds. Once the cause of the problem is identified, the system or an Xcel Energy representative will provide customers with an estimated restoration time.
Other ways customers can prepare and stay safe
• Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Never, under any circumstance, touch or move a downed power line. If you come across a downed power line, leave the area and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.
• Keep natural gas meters clear. Clearing snow and ice from natural gas meters is key to avoiding the potential for dangerous natural gas buildup indoors due to vents becoming sealed when covered in ice and snow. Xcel Energy strongly recommends keeping the entire meter assembly clear by gently removing snow or ice from the meter, associated piping and the roofline above the meter. Check often to ensure melting snow isn’t dripping on the meter from the roof or nearby trees. Use a shovel around a meter to move snow away; do not use a snow blower near a meter.
• Build a home emergency kit. Xcel Energy recommends assembling an easy-accessible kit that can be used in the event of a power outage. Useful items may include Xcel Energy phone numbers (1-800-895-1999 for residential or 1-800-481-4700 for businesses), a battery-powered radio or television, flashlights, batteries, back-up phone chargers, a phone that does not require electricity, a non-electric alarm clock, bottled water and nonperishable food, a manual can opener, first aid kit, extension cords (for partial outages), and/or manufacturer’s instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (e.g., garage doors)
• Observe food safety. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day. Visit the USDA website for more information.
Xcel Energy is prepared
Xcel Energy is known for fast restoration during weather-related outages, and the reason is the preparation done in advance. Crews and equipment are on standby at service centers throughout the metro area and Greater Minnesota when severe weather approaches to quickly and safely restore electric service. Xcel Energy partners with communities to protect the public and invests in its infrastructure to ensure it is robust and reliable.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.