Xcel Energy: Be prepared, stay informed before, during and after severe weather incidents

Contact: Christine Ouellette, P: 715.737.2512, Media Line: 715.737.2565


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (April 20, 2017) – The National Weather Service says today’s statewide tornado drills will take place as part of National Severe Weather Awareness Week. When you hear the sirens this afternoon it can also be a good reminder to prepare for severe weather by signing up for outage notifications from Xcel Energy.

Sign up for outage notifications
When an outage occurs due to weather, it’s important for customers to know if they’re affected. Customers can sign up for outage notifications through the My Account feature on the Xcel Energy website. Additionally, the website hosts an outage map that displays information on the location, the number of customers without power and anticipated restoration time.

Xcel Energy is prepared
Xcel Energy is known for fast restoration during weather-related outages, and one reason for that is the preparation done in advance. Crews and equipment are available at service centers throughout the Wisconsin/MIchigan service territory quickly and safely restore electric service. Xcel Energy invests in its infrastructure to ensure it is robust and reliable, employees are trained so they can respond quickly, works with outside companies to assist when necessary and partners with communities to protect the public.

“During an outage our priority is to restore power to our customers as quickly and safely as possible,” said BJ Rauckman, senior director for Distribution Operations for Xcel Energy-Wisconsin/Michigan. “We strategically place our crews and partners so they are ready to respond if severe weather hits. In addition to preparing our crews, we strongly encourage our customers to take steps to remain safe during severe weather.”

Other ways customers can prepare, 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.

· Build a home emergency kit. Xcel Energy recommends assembling an easily accessible kit that you can use in the event of a power outage. Useful items may include:

o Xcel Energy phone numbers – 1-800-895-1999 for residential or 1-800-481-4700 for business
o Battery-powered radio or television
o Flashlights
o Batteries
o Back up phone chargers
o Bottled water and nonperishable food
o Manual can opener
o First aid kit
o Extension cords (for partial outages)
o 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 (USDA), 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.

· Report your outage. You can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by telling us about outages. Just call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts—our automated phone reporting system lets you report outages in less than 60 seconds. Once we’ve identified the cause of the problem, the system or an Xcel Energy representative will provide you with an estimated restoration time.

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. With its Wisconsin/Michigan headquarters in Eau Claire, Wis. 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 www.xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.