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Some Xcel Energy customers in Moore County experienced planned blackouts Tuesday due to supply problems created by the extreme cold weather.  The company has announced the blackouts could continue if demand for electricity continues to exceed supply.

Xcel Energy released a statement late Tuesday saying that the controlled electricity outages that some Moore County residents experienced Tuesday morning were over for the time being but could return if electricity production continues to be hampered by the frigid temperatures in the state's natural gas fields.  Dumas City Manager Arbie Taylor said Xcel representatives had told him that problems producing wind energy were also contributing to the diminished supply of electricity.  

Xcel officials said customers in several states were being affected, and they continued to urge people to minimize their use of electricity.  "We need to all be prepared for interruptions if regional power demand exceeds the available supply again and do what we can to conserve energy," said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy -- New Mexico, Texas.   "We know it's difficult to be without service when it is extremely cold, and we would not have taken these actions if we had other options."   

Dawn Stephens of Rita Blanca Electric Cooperative said none of their customers in Moore County experienced blackouts Tuesday, planned or unplanned.

Increased demand for electricity in the extreme cold weather coupled with production problems has led to energy problems across the state.  Moore County residents have been relatively lucky.  Those who experienced blackouts Tuesday usually had power restored in about an hour.  Xcel had promised that outages would last no more than an hour and affect different customers with each phase as they cycled the outages across the region.  Many residents down state, on the other hand, where electricity production and distribution is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a non-profit corporation under the supervision of the Public Utility Council, have experienced outages lasting several days.  The problems have led Texas Governor Greg Abbott to call for an investigation of ERCOT and its management of the electricity grid.

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