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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An extended cold snap is a terrible time to be without power and now there’s a regional effort to conserve electricity use.

Companies like OG&E are asking customers to cut back on their use of electricity to preserve the power grid.

It’s a concerted effort by members of the Southwest Power Pool, a power grid operator for 14 states in the central United States.

“This is even much more than an Oklahoma effort,” said Brian Alford, with OG&E. “This is an effort that extends all the way to the Canadian border for folks in our region.”

On Monday morning, the SPP declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3.

This means that operating reserves are less than the required minimum and member utilities have been asked to implement controlled interruptions if necessary. 

Representatives from OG&E say the extended cold snap is putting increasing pressure on electric generation across our region.

Freezes are impacting wind turbines and natural gas.

“We’re also seeing a challenge with coal deliveries so each one of our fuel options is challenged and that’s the importance of having a diverse fuel mix in situations like this,” Alford said. 

Across the mid-continent, electricity is tight so they’re asking customers to conserve use where possible to prevent the use of controlled outages, like those happening Monday in Texas.

“In those types of events, what typically happens is power is taken down on a large scale in different service areas of a region for typically no more than an hour,” said Alford.

To conserve electricity, Oklahomans are urged to avoid using major household electric appliances, and turn off non-essential electric items.

Businesses are asked to minimize the use of these items as much as possible too and consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production.

One thing everyone can do is turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees.

“It’s terribly cold so it’s going to be a challenge, we understand but if you can take it down a degree or two, that begins to make a difference when we all participate,” said Alford.

OG&E says many local outages have been caused by cars hitting power poles and they’ve resolved the issues quickly.