ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – AEP Texas, who delivers electricity to most residents in the Big Country, is asking the public to conserve energy through Tuesday to avoid an emergency controlled outage.

Residents are asked to reduce their consumption of electricity through at least Tuesday during this extreme blast of winter weather.

“AEP Texas indicates that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) may direct transmission and distribution companies to temporarily interrupt power throughout the ERCOT grid or in selected areas,” said AEP Texas. “This emergency procedure would be taken to avoid a sustained large-scale outage and prevent long-term damage to the electric system.”

According to AEP, it hopes that by voluntarily asking customers to conserve power, it will reduce the chance for controled outages.

Here are some steps AEP Texas listed to reduce electricity usage:

• Turn down the thermostat 2 to 3 degrees especially during the peak hours of 2 to 8 p.m. (Consider wearing additional layers of clothing to remain comfortable.)

• Set programmable thermostats to lower temperatures when no one is home.

• Limit use of large appliances (i.e., dishwasher, washer, dryer, etc.) to morning or after 8 p.m.

• If you cook indoors from 2 to 8 p.m., use a microwave or slow cooker.

• Close blinds and drapes during late afternoon to keep heat inside. 

If you lose power, turn off your heating, water heater and large appliances to enable smoother service restoration.  Once power is restored, you should switch the devices back on gradually over the following 30-to-45 minutes. Taking this step will help prevent a sudden surge in demand after power is restored, which could cause a second outage.