Powering up the local economy: Xcel Energy says half a billion dollars were invested in region in 2017

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

From infrastructure upgrades for the power grid to property expenses and maintenance, Xcel Energy says much of its expenses over the last year are going straight into our economy.

According to a new financial analysis, Xcel spent close to a half billion dollars in 2017 with vendors located within its service area here in West Texas, as well as Eastern New Mexico.

"Our spending has continued to be very strong in the local economy,” said Wes Reeves, Xcel Energy spokesman. “I think folks don't often think about us being one of the largest property owners in the region because we own property all over the place and it's very high-value property and it takes a lot of money not only to build those facilities but then to maintain them."

With high-value properties come high amounts of taxes spent.

"We've spent a large amount of taxes across the region,” said Reeves. “Just in Amarillo, alone, in 2017 it was probably more than $12 million in taxes and franchise fees.

According to Reeves, the major impact in the area is an increase over years past.

"We've seen an uptake in the last few years in the amount of money we're putting into infrastructure and to upgrading the grid, so you see a large economic impact and it's about a half-billion spend with our vendors based in the area,” said Reeves.

Xcel officials say that spending on their end for updating systems or renewable energy projects like the $1.6 billion area wind farms translate to long-term customer savings.

"Great thing for customers is we're going to see a huge amount of savings over the next 25 to 30 years, about $2 billion worth of energy savings because these new wind farms will displace generating sources that use fuel,” said Reeves.

For a full list of Xcel's current and upcoming projects in the High Plains, visit the Power for the Plains website.

Overall, the company says the financial impact made in the area translates to jobs and other benefits in the local economy.

"It does provide a ripple effect in the economy. We like to think too that it provides jobs for people, for families, and it's helping boost the quality of life,” said Reeves. “And we're not alone, there's other companies that do this as well so we just want folks to know your local businesses are doing a lot for the economy."

In addition to vendor spending and taxes, Xcel says its impact also includes charitable donation matches to anything given by employees to local United Way organizations.

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