As the first predicted significant snowstorm of the season moved into the New River Valley Tuesday morning, power crews were standing by for whatever the storm brought with it.
Snow started to fall in Pulaski County before sunrise Tuesday and by 9 a.m. was sticking to some of the less traveled roads, despite Monday’s 50-degree high temperature. The temperature hovered near the freezing mark much of the morning, but was expected to take a nosedive in the afternoon.
National Weather Service is calling for lows in the single-digits to teens in Pulaski County throughout the week. But with winds expected to increase at times, wind chill values could drop as low as 10 below some nights.
Faced with the prospect of another stretch of arctic temperatures, accompanied with snow this time, Appalachian Power Company is preparing for heavy electricity demands as people hike up the thermostat to combat the cold. During the last blast of extremely cold weather, APCo customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee set an unofficial all-time peak demand of 8,410 megawatts (MW). The previous record of 8,308 MW was set Jan. 16, 2009.
“Our system is designed to handle customers’ electricity demand in both hot and cold temperature extremes,” said Phil Wright, APCo’s vice president of distribution operations. “Our engineering staff has reviewed equipment where we could have load problems and is taking action as needed.”
APCo offers the following tips to help customers conserve energy and ensure there is an adequate power supply for everyone:
•Decrease thermostat settings to the lowest comfortable level, if health permits.
•Postpone use of major electric appliances, such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers, until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases.
•Turn off unused and unneeded lights and electrical appliances.
Virginia customers who lose service should call the company’s customer service center toll-free at 1-800-956-4237. Leave a voice message about the outage if you receive a recorded message during times of high call volume.
Customers with a laptop, smartphone or tablet can report an outage at HYPERLINK “http://www.appalachianpower.com/” www.AppalachianPower.com. They can track the status of their outage with a user ID and password at www.AppalachianPower.com/MyOutage.
To help speed power restoration, turn off electric appliances, including heating and air conditioning systems, until 10 to 30 minutes after power has been restored.
Before the power goes out, APCo recommends customers prepare for an outage by assembling an emergency kit. The kit should include flashlights and fresh batteries; battery-powered radios or televisions; candles, matches or lighters; water for drinking and cooking; portable heater (oil or gas); camping equipment (sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns); canned goods and a manual can opener, and manufacturers’ instructions for power-operated equipment such as the garage door. Customers also should charge cell phones and have a mobile charger for their automobiles.
Additional energy saving tips are available at HYPERLINK “https://appalachianpower.com/save/learn” https://appalachianpower.com/save/learn.