Community Commitment
June 27, 2024

Xcel Energy takes action to protect customers and communities from wildfires

New proposal includes major investments to help Colorado prevent wildfires

As the threat of wildfire increases in Colorado, Xcel Energy is expanding its work and programs to minimize risk associated with wildfires that could be caused by electric equipment. Xcel Energy’s new 2025-2027 Wildfire Mitigation Plan proposal includes investments and improvements to existing measures while integrating industry experience, incorporating evolving risk assessment methodologies and adding new technology to help reduce the threat of wildfires.

“Keeping our customers and communities safe across our service territory is paramount,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “Our goal is to ensure that no catastrophic wildfire is started by Xcel Energy assets. And while we’ve made significant wildfire safety progress in Colorado and achieved key goals, there is still work to be done to meet the evolving threat. This plan lays out our proposed path forward to help build a more fire-resilient Colorado, working in partnership with others who are also fighting to protect our communities.”

“Xcel Energy is committed to public safety and to reducing the possibility and impact of wildfires for our customers, communities and way of life in Colorado,” said Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy – Colorado. “This proposed plan utilizes strategies and technologies that have proven to be successful around the country in reducing wildfire threats from utility equipment. The plan builds on work that’s already underway, expanding the scope, pace and scale of what’s already in place while leveraging new and emerging technology to go even further.”

Proposed investments and improvements in the 2025-2027 Wildfire Mitigation Plan include:
  • Greater situational awareness: adding hundreds of weather stations for detailed information near power lines and equipment and tripling the number of artificial intelligence cameras for early smoke detection.
  • Technology-enabled infrastructure inspections: updating the schedule for pole and equipment inspections in wildfire risk zones and using inspections to create 3D maps of equipment and terrain in high-threat areas.
  • Infrastructure improvements: a multiyear program to identify and replace or upgrade equipment, underground targeted power lines, replace and repair poles and rebuild transmission lines in high-risk areas.
  • Expanded and risk-informed vegetation management: accelerating and expanding efforts in high-risk areas and setting new standards for inspections, clearance and pruning frequency.
  • Expanding the use of Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (also known as Wildfire Safety Settings): increasing the number of feeders that can be set to safety settings remotely, sectionalizing lines to impact fewer customers, and adding equipment in high-risk areas and new technology to improve the program.
  • Public Safety Power Shutoff Program: incorporating experiences gained from the recent PSPS event to refine this tool, providing enhanced interactive web maps reflecting outage areas, proposing a back-up energy rebate program and reflecting the work already underway to educate, prepare and support customers.
  • Organizational growth: expanding our Wildfire Risk team to include further expertise in the areas of meteorology and fire science; risk management, assessment and analytics; wildfire strategy and performance; regulatory and policy — including a dedicated outreach and communications resource — and incident command for severe risk events.

In addition to the measures highlighted above, the plan also includes new customer and community outreach strategies to provide education about evolving wildfire risks and how we’re taking action, as well as how to be safe and prepared for a Public Safety Power Shutoff or loss of power.  

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will review the plan, and the public will have the opportunity to weigh in through the full regulatory process. If approved as submitted, by Jan 1, 2028, a typical residential bill would increase by approximately 9.56%, or $8.88 per month, through incremental, biannual changes. Even with these changes, Xcel Energy residential customers’ electric bills will remain among the lowest in the country. 

Learn more about our wildfire mitigation efforts.