As we sit in the middle of a bitterly cold and wet workweek, a trio of energy companies are asking their customers to conserve energy.

Tuesday morning, SLEMCO initiated rolling blackouts, which helped get the regional, multi-state power grid back to normal operation. But, sub-freezing temperatures throughout the day today and tonight are expected to continue putting a strain on the system. In order to prevent rolling blackouts again - power outages that last around 20 minutes - SLEMCO officials are asking customers to do what they can to reduce power consumption over these next 24 hours.

"In all-electric homes, the most effective way to conserve significant power is to set heating thermostats no higher than 68 degrees and even lower, if possible," says SLEMCO Communications Coordinator Mary Laurent in a press release. "Customers who have electric water heaters can also conserve significant power by turning water heaters off at the breaker for several hours each day.

LUS officials are also urging customers to conserve power and ask that customers unplug or turn off non-essential appliances or electronics, and avoid using large appliances.

Atmos Energy is asking its industrial customers to do the same with their natural gas usage. On their website, they have posted the following tips:

  • Lower your thermostat to at least 68 degrees. Consider wearing additional layers of clothing and turning down the thermostat even lower.
  • Businesses should minimize energy usage as much as possible.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees, because it can account for as much as 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home.
  • Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use. By conserving electricity, you are also helping to conserve natural gas which keeps the power on.
  • Reduce shower time and avoid baths. Showering accounts for about 40 percent of your home's hot water use.
  • Refrain from using large appliances like your washer, dryer, oven, and dishwasher for the next few days. When in use, limit opening the oven door to prevent wasted energy.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Leaving the damper open is like keeping a window wide open – warm air goes right up the chimney!
  • If you have a pool, do not use the pool heater. Instead, run your pool pump during the coldest part of the day to circulate the water and prevent freezing.