DENVER – With snow, wind and cold weather predicted to hit the along the Front Range this week, Xcel Energy offers energy saving tips and safety tips for severe weather.

Xcel Energy has increased staffing levels and put operational plans in place to make sure key employees are available and able to respond to outages. Winds are expected to gust up to 70 mph along the higher elevations of the foothills.

There is already a nationwide increase in the cost of natural gas, due to supply and demand pressures. With these higher natural gas prices, an average residential customer in Colorado who uses the same amount of energy this winter as last winter will see an increase in bills.

No-Cost Ideas:   

  • 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.   
  • Lower your thermostat – Set the thermostat between 65-70 degrees while you’re home and 58 degrees when you’re away. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your routine.   
  • 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 left unlatched.    
  • Use fans to your advantage – 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 an oven door is opened for a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees.

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.
  • 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.

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.

Customers have the following ways to report outages:

  • 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. Once the cause of the problem is identified, the system or an Xcel Energy representative will provide customers with an estimated restoration time.

Stay informed

Customers can stay informed by visiting the Xcel Energy website or by downloading the mobile app available on iOS and Android. The website hosts an outage map that displays information on the number of customers out and anticipated time for restoration.

Other ways customers can prepare

  • Stay away from downed power lines – Always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Never touch or move a downed power line. If you come across a downed power line, 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. 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. Do not use a snowblower near a meter.
  • Build a home emergency kit. Xcel Energy recommends assembling an easily accessible kit that can be used in the event of a power outage.

    Useful items may include the following:
    • Xcel Energy phone numbers – 1-800-895-1999 for residential or 1-800-481-4700 for business
    • Battery-powered radio or television
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Back up phone chargers
    • A phone that does not require electricity
    • Non-electric alarm clock
    • Bottled water and nonperishable food
    • Manual can opener
    • First aid kit
    • Extension cords (for partial outages)
    • Manufacturer’s instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (e.g., garage doors)
  • Heating safety – 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. 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. Xcel Energy offers rebates and incentives to install energy efficient furnaces and insulation.
  • Observe food safety – To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day. Visit the USDA website for more information.