Electrical Power Outages

The following information was provided by Xcel Energy. To report a power outage, call 1.800.895.1999. You can also get outage information on Xcel Energy’s Outage Map.

In the event of widespread power outages, what is Xcel Energy’s power restoration process?

First and foremost, Xcel Energy’s goal is to provide the most accurate information available while quickly and efficiently restoring power in a manner that upholds safe practices for both customers and utility workers.

Xcel Energy’s restoration process gives top priority to situations that threaten public safety, such as live, downed wires. The remaining work is prioritized based on what will restore power to the largest number of customers most quickly. For example, by repairing a single high-voltage transmission line, often power can be restored to tens of thousands of customers at once, or by restoring service at the feeder level, it may be possible to restore service to several hundred or a few thousand customers at once. After major lines have been re-energized, causes of outages can be more effectively tracked down along the lower-voltage distribution lines. If service restoration was started at the individual customer level first, it wouldn’t be clear if the problem was fully solved until “upstream” power was restored (at the transmission level). This could be unsafe for customers and Xcel Energy crews.

During severe snow, ice and wind storms, electric service can be disrupted to hundreds or thousands of customers all at once. When storms disrupt power to more than 100,000 customers, it may take several days to fully restore power, depending on the extent of damage and how easily Xcel Energy crews can access the damaged areas.

To report an electric outage call 1.800.895.1999. You can also get outage information on Xcel Energy’s Outage Map.

Would my electric service be more reliable if power lines were placed underground, rather than overhead?

There are advantages and challenges with both overhead and underground lines. Underground lines can still become damaged by an outside entity, or by weather-related or environmental issues. They can also experience cable faults and fail when certain pieces of equipment are affected. And because they are buried, it can take much longer to locate and repair cables and equipment.

What should I know about standby generators?

Emergency standby generators can supply electricity to your home or business in the event of a power outage. Operating a standby generator can be useful during a power outage, but only if it is properly installed and maintained. Standby generators are powerful appliances and require extreme caution in installation and use. Understand the hazards and familiarize yourself with these important safety precautions before you buy or begin to use one.

It’s essential to understand that improper installation and use of standby generators may violate state or local electrical codes and can severely endanger those working to restore your power. During power outages, Xcel Energy crews work from maps to locate disconnects on our system. Improperly connected generators may re-energize lines that otherwise would be dead, creating “back feed.” Back feed occurs when electric power is introduced to the utility’s power lines from generators with faulty connections. Lines expected to be de-energized are in fact live, and could potentially electrocute crew members attempting to make repairs.

Learn more about outage safety.

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