Xcel Energy could break power usage record during Colorado heat wave

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver area’s largest power company is expecting to set an electricity usage record this week amid a heat wave.

The soaring temperatures led to people flocking to the water at Denver’s Confluence Park on Monday.

“This water feels great,” a visitor said after swimming in the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek.

While some soaked up the sun, plenty of people were inside enjoying air conditioning.

“We make sure that we have built a system to accommodate the hot, hot days,” Xcel Energy spokesperson Kelly Flenniken said.

Xcel Energy said it’s important not to overwork air conditioning units. High demand adds pressure to the power system.

“Maybe [the AC is] not 72 … now it’s 76, which still feels cool when it’s 100 outside,” Flenniken said, encouraging customers to conserve energy.

The utility offered other useful tips. Consider running the dishwasher and washing clothes in the evening hours when it’s not as hot and there’s less demand on electricity.

The Xcel Energy system-wide peak power usage in the state was in July of 2017 at more than 6,900 megawatts in an hour, Flenniken said. Xcel Energy is set to surpass that record during this week’s heat wave.

However, the utility is confident it can avoid outages.

The ultraviolet index is expected to be dangerous on Tuesday — meaning it doesn’t take long to burn and damage skin without sunscreen.

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