Customer Support

Back-Up Relief Program

Save up to 50% of your base electric rate by using an alternative heat source.

Backup Relief customers allow us to control (interrupt) their primary electric heat source during peak heating times (October - May), automatically switching to a fossil-fuel backup.

How to Get Started

  1. If you have any questions regarding the Backup Relief program, please call 1-800-895-4999. If you’re building a new structure, call the Builders Call Line (BCL) at 1-800-628-2121.

  2. Purchase the correct duplex meter socket and hire a licensed electrician to install it and the control switch according to our specifications. See Qualifying Equipment below for more details. The estimated cost for this installation is about $1,500 - $2,000.

  3. Have the electrician install a duplex (two-position) meter socket with a heavy-duty, lever-actuated bypass mechanism on your service entrance. The meter socket must be UL listed and labeled, used in accordance with its labeling and installed per the 2002 National Electric Code.

  4. Wire the heating systems together so the switchover from electric to back-up heat occurs automatically during energy-control periods, especially when you are away. Install and hook-up radio-controlled switch we provide that regulates your heating activity during control periods. Installation instructions are included with the switch. Only one switch is provided.

  5. Separate your electric heating load from the rest of your home electric supply. The electric heating load and home electric supply should be metered separately. This allows us to interrupt the operation of electric heat without disrupting electricity supplied for other purposes.

  6. Contact our Electric Meter Department at 1-800-422-0782, option 2 for any technical questions about the installation of the radio-controlled switch.

  7. We recommend including a manual switchover device to test both heating systems before winter begins.


  • Open to electric customers of Xcel Energy in participating states with permanently connected interruptible loads of up to 50 kW.

  • Who use an electric primary heat source: baseboard, boiler, heat pump or furnace, and have a back-up fossil fuel heat source: fuel oil, propane, or natural gas that:
    • Can run more than 12 hours.
    • Has enough back-up fuel on site to supply 30% of your heating needs.
    • Can supply 100% of your heating needs when the primary source is interrupted.


Choose the rate that best meets your needs and situation:

Energy Controlled Rate

Select the Energy Controlled Rate if your primary electric heat source is:

  • Baseboard
  • Boiler
  • Heat pump
  • Furnace

The Energy Controlled Rate is in effect year-round since we control your system for all 12 months.

Optional Energy Controlled Rate

If you have a heat pump used for cooling in the summer, try the Optional Energy Controlled Rate. We will only interrupt (control) your primary electric heat source and anything else wired into the meter, like a water heater, during winter (Oct - May). This includes a heat pump (heating) system. Select Optional Energy Controlled Rate if you have a heat pump used for cooling that you do not want controlled during the summer months. The heat pump will be controlled the rest of year. The Optional Energy Controlled Rate charged on this meter is lower in the winter and higher in the summer.

Note: Rates are subject to riders/adjustments (such as fuel costs), city fees, taxes and other charges where applicable. Rates may change upon approval your state’s energy agency. See rate information on your state for more details.

You can also add your electric water heater and save even more. Since interruptions may last longer than 12 hours, we recommend at least 100 gallons of hot water storage capacity.

If you have any questions regarding Backup Relief, please call 1-800-895-4999.

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.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Install carbon monoxide detectors and annually hire a qualified contractor to inspect your home for proper ventilation.

Xcel Energy MaritzCX

We'd welcome your feedback!

Thank you for visiting Xcel Energy. You have been selected to participate in a brief customer satisfaction survey to let us know how we can improve your experience.

The survey is designed to measure your entire experience, so please look for it at the conclusion of your visit

This survey is conducted by an independent company MaritzCX, on behalf of the site you are visiting.

Privacy Policy