Power companies asking customers to reduce electricity use through Christmas

Extremely cold temperatures across the region have created extraordinary demands on the power system.
Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 3:06 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -Extremely cold temperatures across the region have created extraordinary demands on the power system.

Kentucky Power, AEP, and AEP Ohio is making this emergency request in coordination with PJM – the regional power grid operator.

“If we’re not able to meet the supply and demand, we might implement some electricity blackouts or interruptions,” PJM Chief Communications Officer Susan Buehler said. “We would do that on a rolling basis and temporarily, just until we could meet demand.”

Big Sandy RECC also asked customers to reduce consumption.

“Because of extremely cold temperatures, electric power consumption is approaching record levels. Big Sandy RECC is asking members to voluntarily reduce the unnecessary use of electricity to alleviate the strain on the electric grid,” a spokesperson told WSAZ.com

They recommend customers can reduce electricity usage by:

-Setting thermostats lower than usual, if health permits,

-Postponing use of major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and clothes dryers until other times,

-Turning off non-essential electric lights, equipment, and appliances.

““We understand it’s a holiday and families are gathering and it’s very cold, but if you could run it (thermostat) at 62 to 65, instead of 68 to 70 degrees, it makes a huge difference,” Buehler said.

Companies are asking that customers take these actions until 10 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2022, to help ensure adequate power supplies.

Customers’ combined actions can reduce overall electricity demand and ease the emergency situation.

Customers should use electricity needed for personal safety and protect against property damage. Minor adjustments to thermostats and other measures can make a significant difference.

“We are actively working with PJM and other regional utilities to minimize the impact of this event on our customers,” said Brett Mattison, president, and chief operating officer. “We understand that cutting back on the use of electricity can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, especially during the holidays. This is a necessary step to prevent broader power interruptions, and we appreciate our customers’ efforts.”

If further emergency action is required to reduce the load on the electric system, PJM would direct the company to begin grid protection power outages to parts of its service territory. These outages will be brief and intermittent whenever possible to limit the impact on customers.

The action will only be taken if necessary to avoid widespread power loss and to prevent long-term damage to the regional electric system.

Customers are encouraged to check on elderly or disabled family, friends, and neighbors to ensure they are okay and have a plan for possible outages.

Power outage numbers within the Tri-State may be monitored online: