AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR / KCIT) – The hot summer months in the Panhandle mean more people are turning on their air conditioners, reaching peak demand for electricity. But Xcel Energy has said its power supply is ready.
Texas has already had its fair share of concerns about the reliability of electricity this year. As summer approaches, peak demand approaches. However, the Panhandle does not share the same concerns as the rest of the state, although the Panhandle has also experienced a number of power outages during the summer months.
âSummer is our highlight. For the power company, we know that the demand is going to get very high. Usually it peaks around August 1st, âsaid Xcel Energy spokesperson Wes Reeves.
Reeves said Xcel Energy has a large margin of power reserve for the summer.
âReserve margin basically means that we know what the peak demand is likely to be and then we have a reserve beyond that. So we have enough electricity supply to meet peak demand, plus up to a 20% reserve margin, âReeves said. âSo that’s great, we’re in great shape. “
âI always want people to remember that if they hear something going on in Dallas it doesn’t affect us here. Now the same conditions can affect us, but we’re just a little different in terms of how our market is set up and how it works, so that doesn’t mean it’s going to affect us here, âhe said. noted.
Xcel Energy is focused on weathering to prevent blackouts during extreme weather conditions, Reeves said.
âWe’ve invested a lot in our delivery systems, and when I say delivery I’m just talking about wires, substations, and power lines. And this is where we can also see problems sometimes in summer. You might have enough electricity, but then you might have a bottleneck to get it where it needs to go.
He said that for this reason, Xcel Energy has added more substations in parts of Amarillo and Canyon to meet demand.
âWe never really have a problem with the heat affecting our power plants. Usually, you know, the only thing that can really affect that is if we have a lot of power stations offline for some reason, some unforeseen reason, but that’s why we do a lot of maintenance in the spring and then so in the fall, when the temperatures are less extreme, we dismantle these units, âhe continued. “And we have a regular schedule of maintenance and overhauls to get them in good condition for the summer.”
Reeves said the only cause for concern this summer will be if Xcel is drawing a lot from its power reserves.
âIn that case, we would go out on a conservation appeal and let customers know, just like we did in the winter, just before the big frost,â Reeves said. “We have told people that it is going to be very cold and that you might want to keep.”
He said conservation efforts can also help maintain power in each neighborhood if needed.
âIf we have a really hot day and we start to see everyone come home at the same time and turn on their air conditioners, sometimes there is an overload on the systems. Even though we have invested in the system, there will always be a weak spot that we have not yet reached, âsaid Reeves.
He said because an entire block sometimes shares a transformer, it’s best to wait to use large devices until the temperatures drop in the evening.
âI always tell people it’s better to wait until after seven at night because it keeps you cool. If you run your dryer, you do household chores, you are going to be hot, âhe continued. âSo a few little habits that you can change around the house every day not only help you conserve your electricity, but also keep it for your neighbors. “
If the entire 14-state Southwest Power Pool region is in a heatwave, conservation can help. Reeves also said the ability to import electricity is vital in extreme heat.
âThe good thing is being part of the Southwest Power Pool, we have a lot of import capacity that we didn’t even have 10 years ago. So we can bring a lot of additional supply that will help us, âReeves said. “Sometimes it’s even a cheaper offer and it also helps us on our bills.”
On any day, Reeves said that Xcel Energy moves energy back and forth with its neighbors based on price in the SPP market. He said the SPP is looking at the day ahead and the forecast to determine demand. Then, all members of the SPP footprint nominate their power plants for production the next day.
âThe Southwest Power Pool then chooses which ones will work based on price. It’s really determined by the price. They’re looking for the cheapest energy they can get and of course if you have a really hot day you basically have to go all out, âReeves continued. âAnd so, the price becomes less of an issue. Then it’s about making sure everything is working and that we can take care of everything. But we have this security, to have this very strong bond with our neighbors and I think it’s very useful for a summer like this.
Reeves said Xcel Energy has more than the amount of reserve required for the summer.
âWe feel good where we’re at and we’re just going, like everyone else, to wait and see what summer is like, and just be conservative,â Reeved said. “And always know that things can change, of course, but we will definitely communicate with our customers as quickly as possible if anything changes.”