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20 Things You Didn't Know About Xcel Energy

There are, obviously, many different companies holding stake within the utility and energy industry both in our nation and throughout the world, as it is something that we truly can't live without. We need energy to power our homes, give us light, and keeps us warm or cool against the climate. While some of these companies remain small and only servicing various regions, others are massive -- Spanning across the country and even abroad. One such company that has made quite an impact in our society is that of Xcel Energy, as it has continued to thrive for many years. In this article, we are going to count down twenty things that you may or may not know about Xcel Energy, and how their history has impacted their success today. With that said, let's get started with our count down.

1. Best of The Midwest

The company itself is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, they also service several other regions in the nation, with four subsidiaries of the company in operation. These subsidiaries include Northern States Power (which is in Minnesota), Public Service Company of Colorado, Northern States Power (which is in Wisconsin), and Southwestern Public Service Company. In total these four subsidiaries and the main corporation itself help to serve about three million electric customers along with almost 2 million natural gas customers in the country.

2. Large Servicing System

In short, Xcel Energy is one of the largest energy efficiency companies that is in the industry today. In fact, the company itself is known to operate what is considered the fourth largest transmission system that is in the nation. This system spans ten states across the country, and is continuing to expand and grow further each year.

3. Reaching For High Goals

As of 2018, Xcel Energy made a statement saying that they would be providing completely carbon free, and essentially clean, energy and electricity to all of their customers by the year 2050. If they achieve this goal, they will be the first to reach and attain such measures within the industry itself (in the United States). In order to reach this ultimate goal, Xcel has also set a goal to be at least eighty percent free from carbon in their electricity by the year 2035.

4. Significant Plans For The Future

Along with its plan for clean electricity by 2050, the company has also made some other strides and goals for itself as they head into the future. This includes the production of about twelve new wind farms throughout the nation, and also a proposition to begin getting rid of about fifty percent of its coal powered capacities by the year 2026. By getting rid of this, they will be able to replace it with new uses including renewable energy and natural gas. Along with this, Xcel has also begun partnering with Google to start to come up with new ways that the customers of these companies can personalize the way they manage their energy use.

5. Basis For Beginning

While many companies make their way by starting with an idea and going from there, the Xcel Energy company actually began with the combination of three subsidiaries (which we mentioned earlier in the article). This included the Northern States Power Company that was based in Minneapolis, the Public Service Company of Colorado that was based in Denver, and the Southwestern Public Service that was based in Amarillo. The Xcel Energy company began it business in the year 1909, over a century ago.

6. Controversy In The Work Environment

It is safe to say that working with electricity and natural gases is not always the safest business, and Xcel Energy has seen a few moments of controversy in that aspect. The first documented event took place in the year of 2007, when the Cabin Creek Fire took place at the Hydropower Generation plant that was located in Georgetown, Colorado. This fire ultimately led to the deaths of five contract workers who were on site. However, that was not the only legal issue that has taken place within the company, as we will get to in the next section.

7. Legal Issues

2011 made to be a difficult year for Xcel Energy, as that summer led to the company being charged for the death of five different RPI employees. However, by the end of June of that year, Xcel Energy was found to be not guilty by a jury. Rather, by the end of the same year, RPI Coating plead guilty to various workplace safety violations which ultimately led to the deaths of the five employees. The small branch of the company ended up paying a cash settlement of about $1.5 million, and acknowledged that they were also responsible for three other work related injuries of employees along with the five deaths that were at the forefront of the case.

8. Plant Count

Xcel Energy is home to a great variety of plants throughout the nation as well. This includes about thirteen coal plants, with the majority being housed in the state of Colorado. They also have a total of three wind farms, but are planning to expand in that area (as we discussed previously). They also have about twenty seven hydroelectric plants that span the course of three states (Minnesota, Colorado, and Wisconsin). Finally, the company also has two nuclear power plants, both of which are also located in Minnesota.

9. No End To Controversy

While Xcel has had its fair share of controversies regarding workplace injury and death, they have also had their battle with controversy in other aspects as well. In 2002, Xcel Energy got into a legal uprising when they were sued for allegedly becoming part of round trip energy trades, which had no type of benefit for the company whatsoever. This was a quick legal pursuit nonetheless, and Xcel Energy ended up paying out an $80 million settlement for it.

10. Higher Ups In The Company

Ben Fowke has been the president, CEO, and chairman of Xcel Energy since the fall of 2011. Before he took the role as the Chief Officer of the company, he actually worked in several different departments within Xcel. This included his role as vice president from 2002 to 2008, his role as executive vice president from 2008 to 2009, and his roles as president and COO from 2009 to 2011, when he began his current roles.

11. Award Recognition

Xcel Energy has had its fair share of awards and recognition throughout its history, and many of them are for noteworthy occasions. In 2014, the company was awarded the Emergency Recovery Award for its ability to get power back to those that were affected by the powerful storms that took place in June of 2013. They have also been recognized for achievement such as climate leadership, Wildlife National Achievement Leadership, emergency assistance, Generation Technology Transfer Awards, and much more.

12. It Takes An Army

Xcel Energy is a company that runs with the help of about 11,000 employees at the helm (give or take). These employees are spread all throughout the country, but the majority are near the servicing centers that are located in the eight states that are service by the company itself.

13. Not Always Xcel Energy

As we have mentioned a few times before, Xcel Energy actually began with three subsidiaries at the forefront of the business. It all began with Northern States Power, and came in with the merger of Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service Company (together called New Century Energies) which took place in 1997. After the merger of New Century Energies and Northern States Power in 2000, the company finally took the name Xcel Energy, and has been that way ever since.

14. Making Changes

Along with their goals that they have set for future efforts, Xcel Energy has already made great strides to start getting their carbon levels lowered within their electricity and energy. In fact, the company has made statements saying that they have already lowered their carbon levels and carbon emissions by about thirty five percent since the year 2005. That is some significant progress for clean energy.

15. Innovator With Wind

For twelve years now, the Xcel Energy company has been ranked the number one company in the United States when it comes to wind energy. This recognition is for its ability to be a high quality utility wind energy provider and allowing for clean energy for millions of customers in the nation. This rank has been giving to them the last decade by the American Wind Energy Association.

16. Grid Enhancements

Along with the innovations that they have been making with cleaner energy, the company has also been working to put the customers and their values at the forefront of the business. This includes creating a safer grid system that protects the customers that are using the energy provided by Xcel every single day. by making more protection efforts with their one of a kind Cyber Defense System, they have been able to take the preventative measures to keep cyber attacks at bay.

17. Environmental Changes As Well

Not only is the company making strides the get their carbon emissions done to virtually zero, but their inspiring changes have also been making environmental differences as well. Since 2005, they have been able to reduce their water consumption within the company by about forty percent, reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions by about seventy six percent, and reduce their sulfur dioxide emissions by about seventy two percent. This means cleaner air and cleaner energy for all those millions of customers in the nation.

18. Stakeholder Reach Out

Xcel Energy is one company that works hard to get the help of stakeholders throughout many different aspects. These stakeholders for the company can include employees, the customers that have services provided to them, the communities and local governments of the areas they service, and many different investors as well. You will find on their website that the majority of their 'About Us' pages are directed toward drawing in more investors to further their service and their drive for cleaner energy for their customers.

19. Charitable Efforts

Xcel Energy is also a company that is determined to help those that are in need. For the company, this comes in many forms, whether they are raising funds to help programs and other agencies get the support they needs, or just providing other ways to help those who need the energy in their communities. The company also has the Xcel Energy Foundation and the United Way Campaign for their employees which helps to raise funds for various charitable programs for their communities and the nation as well.

20. Opportunities For Education

Xcel Energy seem to have a big portion of their company that is dedicated to education, whether it be for their own employees or for their communities as well. In fact, they offer a wide variety of options to help local educators, offering power plant tours, educational grants, and even other resources that educators can access to teach their students and other community individuals about energy and the use of it in our homes and businesses. If you want to find more information about these various educational tools that are offered, you can find several links on their website with more details.

With all of this information, it seems pretty safe to say that Xcel Energy is a company that is most certainly leading the forefront of renewable energy in the nation. They have made many innovations throughout their century of business, earning them many accolades and recognition that make them leaders in their field and industry. If you have thought about switching over to Xcel Energy for your energy needs for your home or business, or if you would like more information about the company itself, you can find everything you need online via their website. This has been our top twenty things that you may or may not have known about one of the leaders in energy in the United States, Xcel Energy.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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