Xcel Energy power supply improves, conservation still encouraged

Xcel Energy had a large generating unit offline, and some concerns about another unit. The company declared an energy alert for its Texas-New Mexico system yesterday, but got through the peak of the day in good shape. The generator in question came back online last evening and is approaching full load. Barring any unforeseen maintenance issues, it expects to be in better condition today. Should that situation change, Xcel Energy would re-issue the energy alert.The all-time peak demand for this region (including Xcel Energy customers, rural co-ops and municipal systems) is 5,936 megawatts set in early August last year. This region encompasses most of the Amarillo and Lubbock trade areas (Panhandle and South Plains), the Oklahoma Panhandle, a portion of southwestern Kansas, and several eastern and southeastern counties in New Mexico. Unofficially, it was about 27 megawatts shy of that record yesterday. It is possible it could top the all-time peak demand today. Because of this, Xcel Energy is asking customers to continue efforts to curb their energy use. This not only helps boost the power supply, but also reduces strain on distribution facilities such as transformers. With very little breeze to dissipate the heat, these facilities can fail if they become overloaded and interrupt power to homes and businesses. Customers should gradually reduce their thermostat settings in the heat of the day, and avoid using high-energy appliances until 7 p.m. or later.