Xcel Energy asks residents to curb power consumption

Freedom Newspapers

Xcel Energy is asking electric customers in its New Mexico and Texas service territory to conserve energy because of expected high electric demand and limits in generation capacity, according to an Xcel Energy spokesman.

The company had issued a conservation request Monday to reduce strain on the power grid, Xcel Energy’s Wes Reeves said.

“Everything went smoothly,” Reeves said of Monday’s power supply. He said the company was asking customers to continue their conservation efforts today as a precautionary measure.

Reeves said the company expects to be able to meet demand but reserve margins can tighten as air conditioning load rises in the afternoon.

“We have several generating stations undergoing unplanned maintenance,” Reeves said in an e-mail. “Plus, we are still limited on our power import capability because of recent storms that damaged some of our transmission lines.”

Reeves said the Tolk Plant at Muleshoe is one of the plants undergoing maintenance that is being watched.

He said the new Hobbs Generating Station is expected to be online in June 2008 and will add 550 megawatts of power, “providing a terrific boost to our power reserves. We also continue to seek out new power contracts with outside providers.”

The same power situation occurring now could happen again this summer through the season peak, usually around the first or second week of August, Reeves said.

“We will declare an Energy Alert only after exhausting all other options,” David Eves, president of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company, said in the release.

“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,” Eves said.