Xcel Energy: Is prepared for next winter storm and offers tips for staying safe

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (December 20, 2022) – Like many critical service providers, Xcel Energy is ready to respond to any electric outages that may occur during the predicted winter storm later this week. 

“Just like last week, we work hard to ensure that our crews are ready to respond if severe weather hits,” said BJ Rauckman, senior director for Distribution Operations for Xcel Energy-Wisconsin/Michigan. “We are monitoring this next system so we can safely and quickly respond to changing weather conditions.”

Stay informed — Sign up for outage notifications

Snow and ice can cause electrical outages and it’s important for customers to know if they are 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 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.

  • Via the Xcel Energy mobile app available on iOS and Android
  • Online at xcelenergy.com/out
  • Call 1-800-895-1999

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.
  • 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 snowblower near a meter.
  • Heating 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.

In addition to the snow, a cold front is expected to sweep through the Upper Midwest, Xcel Energy is also reminding customers it offers tips and programs to help them manage their energy use and save on their energy bills.

Take steps to save

While natural gas continues to be the most affordable way to heat a home, with wholesale natural gas prices higher than usual nationwide, it’s a good time to consider ways to conserve energy as we head into the heating season. 

Here are ways customers can save energy and money this winter: 

  • Lower your thermostat a few degrees, ideally to 68 degrees or lower. 
  • Adjust your programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature while you are away or while you sleep.
  • During daylight hours, open drapes and blinds to maximize heat from direct sunlight. To retain heat, keep them closed when it is dark.
  • Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down from the ceiling, adding comfort and savings. 
  • Keep interior doors open to help circulate air more freely and maintain constant heating levels. 

Find more ways to save on the energy savings tips page on xcelenergy.com. Customers can also learn more about programs, incentives and rebates that can help make homes and businesses more energy efficient.

Customers are encouraged to contact us if they’re having trouble paying their bill. We can provide options like payment plans and energy assistance programs. Customers can learn more about energy assistance programs and resources on the website or by calling1-800-895-4999.