With ice, snow, wind and extreme cold predicted to impact parts of Texas and New Mexico this week, Xcel Energy is offering tips to conserve energy, stay safe, report outages and stay informed when severe weather strikes.
There is a nationwide increase in the cost of natural gas, due to supply and demand pressures. Xcel Energy purchases natural gas at wholesale, and the cost of the natural gas provided to customers and used to generate electricity is passed along to customers without markup. With these higher natural gas prices, an average residential customer in Texas and New Mexico who uses the same amount of energy this winter as last winter will see an increase in their bills. Making a few small changes in energy use habits can lead to a more comfortable home and help customers save money.
- Let the sunlight in and keep the cold out - Open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s warmth during the day but close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
- Lower your thermostat - During winter months, set the thermostat between 65-70 degrees while you are home, and 58 degrees when you’re away. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your routine and could help you save on heating costs.
- Make sure exterior doors are fully closed - A major source of a home’s heat loss is from exterior doors that are left cracked open or not latched.
- Use fans to your advantage - During colder months, run ceiling fans clockwise, so the warm air near the ceiling is forced down.
- Keep your oven’s heat where it belongs - Use your oven light or timer to avoid opening it often while you cook; each time the door is opened even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees. Put lids on your pots and pans while cooking to speed up cooking time and keep the heat where it’s needed most. Low-Cost Ideas:
- Lower your water heater’s temperature or insulate it - The proper temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and by lowering it 10 degrees, you can save 3-5% on your water heating costs; you can also insulate it to maximize efficiency.
- Keep filters clean - Dirty furnace filters reduce airflow, requiring your furnace to work harder and use more energy. Change the filter once a month during the winter to reduce your heating costs by 5-15%.
- Don’t let the heat escape - Affordable window sealing kits can be found in most local home improvement stores and can help you save. Have your home evaluated for leaky ducts, drafts around doors and windows, fireplace dampers, and other places where air might escape.
- Improve insulation - Improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors, and heating ducts is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs, saving you up to 10% on your monthly energy bill.
Customers can take part in one of Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency programs to save even more. Information can be found at www.xcelenergy.com.
Report your outage Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by reporting outages.
In The case of a power outage, customers have several ways to report them back to Xcel.
- Xcel Energy mobile app available on iOS and Android
- Online at xcelenergy.com/out
- Text ‘OUT’ to 98936 to report an outage, or text STAT to the same number to check the status of a power outage.
- Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts—the automated phone reporting system lets customers report outages in less than 60 seconds.
Stay informed If outages occur, it’s important for customers to have access to the most recent updates about their power restoration. Customers can stay informed by visiting the Xcel Energy website or by downloading the mobile app available on iOS and Android. 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.