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Xcel Energy urges customers to limit electricity use

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Controlled blackouts anticipated for the Roswell area and much of southeastern New Mexico are not currently planned for Tuesday, though Xcel Energy is still urging customers to take measures to curb their use of electricity.

Wes Reeves, senior media relations representative for Xcel Energy Texas and New Mexico, said controlled blackouts that had occurred in parts of southeast New Mexico were scheduled to occur through Friday. However, a series of controlled blackouts that happened in southeast New Mexico managed to ease the strain on the area’s power supply.

“We had one round of controlled outages earlier today (Monday) and then the conditions improved so we fell back to conservation mode. Currently we are not planning any controlled outages unless conditions worsen,” Reeves said late Monday afternoon.

Monday’s outages, he added, happened in Artesia, Carlsbad, Clovis, Eunice and Hobbs for a period of 30 to 45 minutes. The outages, which happened from 11:47 a.m. to 12:13 p.m, impacted about 7,000 New Mexico customers along with 10,000 in Texas, though all power was restored by late afternoon.

Customers remain at a level two alert, which Reeves said is when electricity resources are constrained, and if demand and use of electricity spikes too high, Xcel might have to resort to more controlled blackouts.

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A level two alert is a designation more typically applied during hot summer months when large amounts of electricity are utilized, but the winter weather that has pounded New Mexico and much of the central part of the U.S. has placed heavy pressure on electricity supplies.

There are depleted reserves of electricity because deliveries of natural gas to power plants have been curtailed in New Mexico and other nearby states, Reeves said.

Customers through Tuesday should keep their thermostats at 68 degrees or lower; turn off unnecessary lighting; avoid use of electrical appliances if possible; turn off televisions and electronics unless essential for health and safety; and delay performing tasks that require electricity.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.