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Xcel issues tips to stay safe, report an outage

GRAND FORKS - Because of the incoming severe weather, Xcel Energy has released a list of winter weather safety tips.

"We understand how inconvenient it can be to lose power, and that's why we monitor the forecast," said Troy Browen, senior director of control center operations for Xcel in a release.

In the release, Xcel advises customers to stay away from downed power lines, build a home emergency kit and to use a space heater with caution. Never leave a space heater unattended, the release said.

Other tips in the release include:

• Xcel advises its customers to keep natural gas meters and furnace vents clear of snow.

• Sign up for outage notifications. Xcel customers can sign up for notifications through the My Account feature on the Xcel Energy website or by downloading the mobile app. Customers can also follow Xcel on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

• Customers can help Xcel by reporting an outage. Customers can report outages by texting "OUT" to 98936 or texting "STAT" to check the status of an outage. Customers can also call (800) 895-1999 for residential and (800) 481-4700 for businesses and follow the prompts to report an outage.