Xcel customers asked to conserve power until 8 p.m.

Xcel Energy is asking its New Mexico and Texas customers to reduce electricity usage until 8 p.m., terming the situation “urgent.”

Based on high electricity demand and maintenance issues at area generating plants, Xcel issued an energy alert Tuesday morning under threat of controlled outages if electricity demand is not reduced.

Demand could exceed the amount of electricity Xcel is able to supply, according to a news release, which said repairs at affected power plants could be completed in time to add power at peak demand hours.

Customers are asked to put off household and work chores involving electricity until after 8 p.m. and turn off unnecessary electronic equipment and lighting.

Steps Xcel said it is taking to address the issues include:

• Bringing on line as many power plant generating units as possible and buying electricity from other utilities.

• Reduced power use at Xcel Energy power plants and office buildings.

• Interruption of power to industrial and agricultural customers in agreement with lower interruptible rates.

• Asking commercial and industrial customers to curtail energy use.