Xcel working ahead to meet summer demand | SummitDaily.com

Xcel working ahead to meet summer demand

DENVER – Xcel Energy plans to spend $28 million to help keep the power on during peak times this summer.Most of the work will involve replacing more than 70 miles of power lines, and should be done by June, spokesman Tom Henley said.Xcel, with 1.2 million electric customers in Colorado, expects peak demand this summer to hit 6,870 megawatts due to a growing population and demand for electricity for things like air conditioners, computers and big-screen televisions.That would top the record peak of 6,785 megawatts set in July 2005. One megawatt serves about 1,000 households.Xcel has a supply of about 7,800 megawatts this summer and can buy additional power from wholesale markets during peak hours.In 2004, thousands of customers were left without power at times in the summer, sometimes for hours. The Public Utilities Commission fined Xcel $5.6 million.Xcel also paid $13.44 million in fines for missing quality-of-service targets, mostly because of higher outages and customer complaints in 2002 and 2003.In the last three years, Xcel has spent nearly $100 million to upgrade cables and replace aging equipment, and it has replaced 193 transformers that likely would blow because of power overloads.The utility met service targets last year.

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