Valley Power Companies Thankful for Cooperation During Outages

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The frigid temperatures caused several central Virginia and Shenandoah Valley power companies to issue warnings to customers in hopes of preventing more outages.

Energy companies say the cold made people to turn up their thermostats, and that strained the entire system. As temperatures rebound, it looks like the biggest threat for power loss has passed, but power companies say they're thanking customers for heeding their advice.

When temperatures hit all-time lows, the last thing you want to do is turn the thermostat down - but that's exactly what power companies like Dominion and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative needed everyone to do.

The outage affected thousands. It happened when an equipment failure took place right before temperatures dipped into the single digits. So when customers started cranking up the heat, Dominion reached out with these tips.

"It was a proactive measure, really, just to make sure that we had enough electricity. You know, human nature is that when it is cold outside, we tend to come into our homes and turn up the thermostat, so that we're comfortable. And, we were simply ensuring that as customers do that, but we were never in a position where we weren't able to meet the demand for the supply,” said Le-ha Anderson, media relations manager for Virginia Dominion Power.

Dominion asked customers to keep thermostats set no higher than 68 degrees and to avoid using larger appliances during peak hours. While some customers weren't thrilled with the advice, others like Walt Spence, co-owner of 2nd String Sports, listened.

"I think that's reasonable. We still have to run a business. So, yes, we still have to use power. We do a lot online, so it requires computers running,” said Spence.

Companies say that by curbing energy usage, the community saved itself from an outage and a little bit on their next bill.

"I think it goes along with the culture of the valley, that people are very willing to cooperate,” said Spence.

If you do lose power, Dominion says to report it, but also unplug the bigger appliances and leave one light on so you know when energy has been restored without overloading the system.

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