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If Blue Ridge Energy sent you a message that you will experience a temporary power outage, we are under what is known as “load curtailment.” This is a strategy utilities use only during emergencies to balance the available supply and consumer demand of electricity to help avoid blackouts. In other words, not enough power can be produced by power suppliers to meet an immediate need.
The need to implement load curtailment is rare but can arise quickly. It typically occurs during extremely hot or cold weather across a wide region when thousands or millions of consumers are using record amounts of air conditioning or heat. This is usually late summer afternoons or very early on winter mornings.
Implementing load curtailment for brief periods of 30 to 60 minutes among a small percentage of members at a time can help reduce demand and thereby avoid longer, more widespread outages.
Blue Ridge Energy tries to minimize the inconvenience to members by working to reduce the length and number of temporary outages when they become necessary. Again, this need is very rare but can occur suddenly. The cooperative makes every effort to inform members during these periods.
If you get a message notifying you of a temporary outage and load curtailment is activated, you can help by using the following tips where appropriate, but not to the point where life or health are endangered:
- Turn off all appliances, devices and lights until after the power is restored.
- Increase the thermostat setting to the highest comfortable setting during summer and decrease the thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting during the winter.
- Reduce water heater temperatures to 120 degrees.
- Delay any other use of electricity until after the daytime power emergency hours if possible and safe to do so.
- Slowly, over the next hour after the emergency hours, turn on only the needed appliances.
- Be prepared to implement these power reduction measures again in the following days if required.