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Xcel prepared for winter storms and outages

Like many critical service providers in Wisconsin, Xcel Energy has prepped and is ready to respond to any electric outages that may occur during predicted winter storms.

“We work hard to ensure our crews are ready to respond if severe weather hits,” said BJ Rauckman, senior director for distribution operations for Xcel Energy-Wisconsin/Michigan.

Snow and ice can cause electrical outages, and it’s important for customers to know if they are affected. Customers can sign up for outage notifications through the My Account feature on the Xcel Energy website.

Additionally, the website hosts an outage map that displays information on the number of customers out and anticipated time for restoration. Customers can also stay informed by following Xcel Energy on social media.

Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration, by reporting outages. Customers can report outages in the following ways:

• Text OUT to 98936 to report an outage, or text STAT to check the status of anoutage.

• Via the Xcel Energy mobile app, available on iOS and Android

• Online at

• Calling 1-800-895-1999.

Other ways customers can prepare and stay safe:

• Stay 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 a downed line is come across, leave the area and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.

• Keep natural gas meters clear. Clearing snow and ice from natural gas meters is key to avoiding the potential for dangerous natural gas buildup indoors, because of vents becoming sealed when covered in ice and snow. Xcel Energy strongly recommends keeping the entire meter assembly clear, by gently removing snow or ice from the meter, associated piping and the roofline above the meter. Check often to ensure melting snow isn’t dripping on the meter from the roof or nearby trees. Use a shovel around a meter to move snow away; do not use a snowblower near a meter.

• Heating safety. If using a space heater, take care to ensure safety, as more than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year in the United States, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. When using a space heater, make sure 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.