Xcel: Controlled outages possible

Freedom New Mexico

Xcel Energy officials said Tuesday controlled power outages in the Texas-New Mexico region are a possibility if generators at two area coal burning plants remain off-line.

In the meantime, customers are being asked to continue to reduce electricity demand in light of the unplanned repairs and expected high demand due to heat.

The high for today is expected to reach 95 degrees, according to Accuweather.com.

Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves said the company is concerned about meeting electricity demand after leaking generator boilers in the Muleshoe and Amarillo plants led officials to shut down two generators Monday.

He said the generator in Amarillo is expected to resume production Tuesday night and the generator in Muleshoe should be online today before peak usage hours — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Xcel serves about 386,000 customers in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Reeves said previously the company would inform affected customers through the media before a controlled outage is implemented.

Suggestions on how to reduce electric load include:

• Either turn off air conditioning or increase your thermostat setting to 85 degrees, slowly lowering the setting after 7 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 7 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.