Xcel Energy provides support for disaster relief and recovery across its eight-state service area. The two primary factors in determining if and how they will respond are impact on customers and impact on company assets and infrastructure. Through the Xcel Energy Foundation, they budget annually for a disaster response fund that can be accessed to support response efforts throughout service areas. To gain understanding of the disaster’s impact and where needs are greatest, Xcel Energy works closely with key stakeholders such as first responder organizations, employees in the affected area and city and county officials. The available budget in the response fund when a disaster strikes and the severity of the disaster’s impact influence the level of response.
Xcel Energy prioritizes getting key stakeholder input and accurate information. They often wait to see the full scale of impact and then provide support that can be used for recovery efforts, rather than immediate relief. In the case of large and ongoing incidents (such as COVID-19 and the 2020 Colorado wildfire season) they may allocate half of the budget for immediate relief and save the other half to support ongoing recovery efforts. The team tries to think creatively and look for ways to support smaller, local groups who are supporting key stakeholders as well as organizations that work across communities and disasters.
The company also leverages the generosity of its employees. For COVID-19, they launched their first issue-focused employee matching gifts campaign. Utilizing their online giving platform, they created a special campaign that matched employee gifts to COVID-19 relief efforts 2:1. This meant, for every one dollar donated by an employee, the company matched. The online platform allowed them to launch the campaign quickly with specific criteria and to set a maximum donation amount of $300,000. Through the platform they are able to run reports to show impact by state, organization and employee segments.
For the wildfire season, they utilized the company intranet to run a series of features on how employees could help through partner and company giving and volunteering programs. Additionally, Xcel Energy is working on a special “meeting the moment” report to highlight their funding initiatives from 2020, which focused on COVID-19, Racial Justice & Equity and Colorado Wildfires. This is one of the many steps Xcel Energy will take to share its impact.