7:52 a.m. UPDATE:
Only remaining power outages according to Appalachian Power's outage map are in Lynchburg. Fewer than 300 homes and businesses are without power there.
Power is being restored to Appalachian Power customers.
As of 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, 1,975 customers are still without power. That’s down from around 7,000 from Tuesday morning.
The utility asked that customers conserve as much energy as possible during peak time until 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Appalachian Power believes it set a record for demand around 8 a.m. Tuesday. That includes all of Appalachian Power in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The previous record was set in 2007.
Appalachian Power is asking customers to conserve electricity as it expects demand to peak Tuesday afternoon and evening.
The utility is asking customers to avoid using appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and driers until late Tuesday night or Wednesday. An Appalachian Power spokeswoman says the utility expects demand to peak between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Nearly 7,000 Appalachian Power customers were without power as of 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. Outages are attributed to wind, extreme cold and high demand.
The most outages are in Giles and Amherst counties.
The outages in Amherst County are affecting customers in the Rutledge and Sweet Briar substation areas. The power went off there around 2 a.m. Officials believe the outage was caused by the extreme cold. Amherst County officials hope to have power restored by 4 p.m.
Sweet Briar College has closed for Tuesday. College officials had hoped power would be restored by noon but later said that now appears unlikely. The Amherst County Sheriff's Office says a shelter is available at Grace Baptist Church on Lakeview Drive in Madison Heights.
If you do lose power, Appalachian recommends turning off all major appliances including furnaces and water heaters. When the power does come back on, wait 10-15 minutes before gradually turning these appliances on. Appalachian says a spike in demand when power is restored can cause additional outages.
Here is more information from Appalachian Power:
As arctic air and frigid temperatures drive demand for electricity, the energy grid operator that serves the Mid-Atlantic region on Tuesday asked Appalachian Power and its customers to help out by conserving energy.
PJM Interconnection operates the power grid that serves 61 million customers in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The grid operator has asked the public to conserve electricity Tuesday, especially between the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., when PJM predicts demand will hit record levels.
“Voluntarily conserving electricity can help ensure adequate power supplies for everyone and lessons the likelihood that service will be interrupted,” said Phil Wright, Appalachian Power’s vice president of distribution operations. “We are confident at Appalachian Power that we have sufficient capacity to serve all of our customers during this time of high demand. We will continue to monitor the power supply in cooperation with PJM to keep power flowing in the region and maintain the integrity and reliability of the system.”
PJM also asked Appalachian Power and other electricity providers to increase generation to emergency levels, manage load demands and issue a potential reduce voltage warning should conditions warrant further usage reductions.
During extreme weather conditions, demand for electricity goes up as customers turn up the thermostat to counter the bitter cold. Consumers can take simple conservation steps:
• 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.
Appalachian Power customers who do lose service can report their outage 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.
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.