Excel Energy busy defending lawsuits over Texas Panhandle wildfire

A telephone pole burns from the Smokehouse Creek Fire on Feb. 28 in Canadian, Texas.


Nearly four months after a power line reportedly caused a Texas Panhandle wildfire, burned 1 million acres, killed two people and more than 15,000 head of cattle and spread into western Oklahoma, Xcel Energy finds itself not only busily defending itself from lawsuits, but at the same time increasing its power line inspections.

It was an Excel utility pole blown over by high winds in February that reportedly ignited the largest wildfire ever in the state of Texas. It also didn’t take long before lawsuits were filed against Exel, blaming the company for not knowing the existence of the weakened utility pole.

“It should have been taken out of service long before it failed and ignited the deadly and devastating Smokehouse Creek Fire,” the lawsuit stated, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Xcel is headquartered in Minnesota and is not only dealing with lawsuits from the Texas wildfire, but from a 2021 wildfire that occurred outside of Boulder, Colorado.

According to the Star Tribune, costs from the Texas Smokehouse Creek fire could easily go beyond Xcel’s $500 million insurance coverage for 2024.

Click here for Minneapolis Star Tribune