Xcel Energy says its facilities ‘appear to have’ played role in start of Texas wildfire

Minnesota-based Xcel Energy is admitting that it seems to have played a role in the start of the Texas wildfire.

A week after the company filed a Securities and Exchange Commission notice saying it had been provided notice of possible exposure for damages related to the Smokehouse Creek Fire — the largest blaze in Texas history — by a law firm, Xcel acknowledged that its facilities “appear to have been involved” in the start of the fire.

An official investigation into the start of the fire is still ongoing, and Xcel says it’s cooperating with those and conducting its own review.

Since it started last week, the fire has burned nearly 1,700 square miles and destroyed hundreds of structures, according to state officials. At least two people have also been killed in the blaze.

While Xcel Energy says its equipment apparently played a role in the fire starting, the company denied any negligence on its part regarding maintenance or how it operates its facilities. Additionally, a company statement said it doesn’t believe that its facilities played any role in the start of the Windy Deuce fire, a smaller blaze located southwest of the Smokehouse Creek Fire.

“Xcel Energy, through our Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS) subsidiary, has operated in the Texas Panhandle for more than 100 years,” Xcel Energy’s President, Chairman and CEO Bob Frenzel said. “The people in this region are our friends, neighbors and relatives. We are deeply saddened by the losses incurred in this community, and we are committed to supporting its renewal and recovery.”

The company is the largest utility company in Minnesota and Colorado but also serves residents in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico and Texas. Xcel is already facing lawsuits in connection with the Marshall Fire in Colorado that started in late 2021.

In addition, the company says if anyone lost property or livestock due to the Smokehouse Creek fire, a claim with submission instructions can be made by CLICKING HERE. Company officials say priority for home losses in the Smokehouse Creek fire will be prioritized.