Xcel declares Energy Alert, conservation urged

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 through 7 p.m.

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 take our responsibility to supply energy to our customers very seriously, and we declared this Energy Alert only after exhausting all other options," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company.

The Energy Alert was issued after Xcel Energy said one of its generating units went down for unplanned repairs until Tuesday evening.

Xcel said it is asking its customers to conserve energy in order to reduce the strain on the power grid. It said it should produce enough power to meet demands but reserve margins could tighten as air conditioning loads rise in the afternoon.

"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."

Additionally, Tri-County Electric, based out of the Oklahoma Panhandle, said Xcel Energy notified the cooperative about the alert and it does impact its members.

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

· Turning off unneeded lights, computers and appliances.

· Setting the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher at home.

· Turning up the thermostat to 85 degrees before leaving home.

· Using major appliances and equipment after 7 p.m., when power demand is lower.