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Preparing for an Outage

Take proper safety precautions this winter, assemble an outage kit, or consider a standby generator

Winter Outage Preparation

While powerful storms during warmer months can certainly lead to power outages, it is important to note that outages don't only happen during spring and summer. Snow and ice can cause electrical outages too, and it's important to take proper safety precautions to ensure you're well prepared this winter.

Keep Gas Meters Clear

When melting snow drips on your natural gas meter during the day and refreezes at night, it can lead to vents becoming sealed due to being covered in ice. Clearing snow and ice from your natural gas meter is key to avoiding dangerous natural gas buildup indoors due to sealed vents.

We strongly recommend keeping the entire meter assembly clear of snow and ice. Gently remove snow or ice from the meter, associated piping, and the roofline above the meter. Check often to ensure melting snow isn’t dripping onto the meter from the roof or nearby trees. Use a shovel around the meter to move snow away; avoid using your snowblower near a meter.

Use Space Heaters Safely

If you choose to use a space heater, make sure you're using it safely. Ensure 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.

Sign up for Outage Notifications

Sign up for notifications and we’ll let you know if you’re power is out, if your estimated restoration time changes, and when your power is restored.

Sign up now.

Outage Kits & Computer Protection

We recommend going through this checklist and assembling an easily accessible kit that you can rely on in the event of a power outage. The following are useful items to have in an outage, and remember to replace items you've used up, such as batteries, food, and water, after the outage.

Outage Kit Checklist

  • Xcel Energy phone numbers (1-800-895-1999 for residential or
    1-800-481-4700 for business)
  • Battery-powered radio or television
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • 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)

Computer Tips

  • Protect your computer from power surges with proper electrical connections.
  • Have a battery backup for your computer for use during outages.
  • If you work out of your home, take steps to secure back-up power, lighting, and safety options during an outage.

Standby Generators

Emergency standby generators can supply electricity to your home or business during a power outage. Operating a standby generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage, but only if it is properly installed and maintained. Understand the hazards, and familiarize yourself with these important safety precautions before you purchase or begin to use one.

Portable Gasoline-powered Generators

You can purchase a small, portable, gasoline-powered outdoor unit and run extension cords from the generator directly to appliances such as lamps, refrigerators, or electric space heaters. Always run such generators outside where there is adequate ventilation — never inside the house.

Generators Permanently Connected to Main Electrical Supply

A licensed electrician can connect a larger backup generator to a building's main wiring panel. These generators can be used during electric outages to power essential medical devices, furnaces, air conditioners, or well pumps (for those not connected to a municipal water supply). Your electrician will see that the setup meets national, state, and local electrical codes and ensure compatibility with our power system.

Generator Hazards

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, our crews work from maps to locate disconnects. Improperly connected generators may re-energize lines that otherwise would be off, creating "back feed." Back feed occurs when electric power is introduced to the utility's power lines from generators with faulty connections. In the case of back feed, lines expected to be de-energized are in fact live, and could potentially electrocute crew members attempting to make repairs.

Energy Saving Tip

Make sure to regularly change the air filters on your HVAC system (at least once per month). Old, clogged filters are far less efficient than new ones.

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Electrical Appliance Safety

Always keep appliances clean, operating properly, and clear of obstructions. Unplug them when cleaning or repairing to avoid serious injury.

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