CHARLESTON, W. Va. -

With snow and cold weather on the way, Appalachian Power is preparing for high electricity demand.

Up to six inches of snow could fall in parts of the Appalachian Power’s territory, and temperatures are expected to fall near the single digits.

When temperatures drop, demand for electricity goes up. In fact, Appalachian Power set an all-time usage record earlier this month during an Arctic chill.http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/appalachian-power-set-usage-record-tuesday/-/20128466/23846540/-/xryvkxz/-/index.html

Here is what the utility suggests for consumers to help conserve energy:

Appalachian Power is preparing for heavy electricity demand as forecasters predict a winter storm to blanket the service territory with up to 6 inches of snow and bring single-digit temperatures beginning Tuesday.

 “Our system is designed to handle customers’ electricity demand in both hot and cold temperature extremes,” said Phil Wright, Appalachian Power’s vice president of distribution operations. “Our engineering staff has reviewed equipment where we could have load problems and is taking action as needed.”

When the temperatures plummet, demand for electricity often goes up as customers turn up the thermostat to counter the bitter cold. During such times, consumers can take simple, voluntary steps to help conserve energy to ensure adequate power supplies for everyone and lesson the likelihood that service will be interrupted:

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.
Additional energy saving tips are posted at https://appalachianpower.com/save/learn.

Customers who do lose service can report outages to Appalachian Power by calling the customer service center toll-free. In Tennessee, the number is 1-800-967-4237; Virginia, 1-800-956-4237; and West Virginia, 1-800-982-4237. During times of high call volume callers may hear a recorded message and can leave a voice message about the outage.

Those customers with access to a laptop, smartphone or tablet have the option to report an outage online at www.AppalachianPower.com.  They also can track their individual outage at www.AppalachianPower.com/MyOutage with a user ID and password.

Customers who lose service can help speed restoration by turning off all electric appliances, including heating and air conditioning systems, until 10 to 30 minutes after power has been restored. This step helps prevent circuit overload situations that can occur during extreme cold weather when electric demand is high.

Customers can prepare for outages by assembling an emergency kit with 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.

Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.