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Be prepared and informed ahead of severe weather

Even in times of crisis, the threat of severe weather remains. While the weather in Wisconsin and Michigan is unpredictable, especially in April, the possibility of thunderstorms and tornadoes will soon be here.

As part of National Severe Weather Awareness Week April 13-17, Xcel Energy reminds customers to prepare for severe weather and know that the company is prepared to respond when outages happen because of any kind of severe weather.

The work employees do to deliver the energy customers rely on, is critical to keeping communities and society, safe and running smoothly. Xcel Energy electricity and natural gas crews are taking extra safety precautions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they continue working in the field to maintain the critical infrastructure that keeps the lights on and the heat flowing to customers’ homes.

If there is an outage, allow crews to do their critical work and for everyone’s safety, Xcel Energy is requesting that members of the public not approach workers in the field. This helps maintain social distance to keep everyone healthy.

If outages occur, it’s important for customers to have access to the most recent updates about their power restoration. Customers can sign up for outage notifications through the “My Account” feature on the Xcel Energy website, or by downloading the mobile app available on iOS and Android.

Additionally, the website hosts an outage map that displays information on the number of customers out and anticipated time for restoration. Customers are also asked to report and outage.

Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by reporting outages. Customers have a number of ways to report their outage.

“During an outage our priority is to restore power to our customers as quickly and safely as possible,” said Lee Nordby, director, control centers and trouble operations, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “We strategically place our crews and partners so they are ready to respond if severe weather hits. In addition to preparing our crews, we strongly encourage our customers to prepare so they remain safe during severe weather.”

Other ways customers can prepare, stay safe include:

• Staying away from downed power lines. Always assume an electric line, even one that is on, or near, the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Never, under any circumstance, touch or move a downed power line. If there is a downed power line, leave the area and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.

• Build a home emergency kit. Useful items may include emergency numbers, a battery-powered radio or television, flashlights, batteries, backup phone chargers, bottled water and non-perishable food, manual can opener, first-aid kit, extension cords (for partial outages) and manufacturer’s instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (garage doors).

• Observe food safety. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day.