Xcel declares Energy Alert, conservation urged

Update 4:30pSome good news, conditions on Xcel Energy's Texas-New Mexico system have improved.

According to Xcel Energy, the affected units have either come back online or are in the process of coming back online.

Because the electricity demand remains high, Xcel Energy continues to ask its customers to continue to conserve power as much as possible through 8 Tuesday evening.

Xcel Energy says it will be starting tomorrow in normal operations mode and if power supply demands change, another energy alert will be issued.

Xcel Energy has declared an Energy Alert in its Texas and New Mexico service territory.

That means customers are asked to cut back their use of electricity until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Additionally, Tri-County Electric, based out of the Oklahoma Panhandle, says it has been notified about the alert and it does impact its members.

"While the current hourly load forecasts do not indicate the need for adverse measures, we ask our members to support Xcel Energy's conservation efforts," said Zac Perkins, Vice President of Tri-County Electric's Corporate Services.

According to Xcel, it only declares an Energy Alert when a reduction in electricity use is urgently needed to maintain the electricity system and service to its customers.

"We are making a public appeal to our customers to turn off lights and appliances unless it would harm their health," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "For example, elderly people or people who have health concerns should NOT turn off their air conditioners."

Xcel Energy says if customers do not cut back on use, the demand could exceed the amount of electricity the company will be able to produce. If the demand is not reduced, controlled outages in the region could happen.

The Energy Alert was issued after Xcel Energy says it implemented several efforts to decrease demand.

"We take our responsibility to supply energy to our customers very seriously, and we declared this Energy Alert only after exhausting all other options," Hill said.

"Our customers have helped us through similar situations in the past, and we look to them today to help us maintain the integrity of their electricity system. Turning off all lights and appliances that are not essential to health and safety will help us meet everyone's energy needs without service interruptions. We at Xcel Energy - and your friends and neighbors - thank you."

Here are some tips from Xcel Energy to reduce electricity use:

Either turn off air conditioning or increase your thermostat setting to 85 degrees, slowly lowering the setting after 8 p.m. to a more comfortable setting. This does not apply to customers who depend on air conditioning for health reasons.

Put off household chores that involve electrical appliances until after 8 p.m. (dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, etc.)

Put off tasks at work, if possible, that would demand electricity (power tools, maintenance equipment, etc.).

Turn off televisions and electronic equipment unless they are necessary to conduct business or to ensure your health and safety.

Turn off unnecessary lighting, leaving on only enough to move about safely indoors.