Like many critical service providers in Wisconsin, Xcel Energy has been prepping and is ready to respond to any electric outages that may occur during the predicted winter storm this week.
The strong winds, combined with significant snowfall predicted this week, can cause power outages. “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 the system so we can safely and quickly respond to changing weather conditions.”
Stay informed and 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.
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Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by reporting outages. Customers have a number of ways to report their outage. Text OUT to 98936 to report an outage or text STAT to check the status of your outage. You can do this via the Xcel Energy mobile app available on iOS and Android, online at xcelenergy.com/out or call 1-800-895-1999.
Stay away from down 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.
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.