RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Abnormally cold temperatures in recent days have caused a high energy demand across the Commonwealth. Now, energy companies like Dominion Energy are warning that the increased usage can harm the electric grid and pose dangers such as blackouts.

This weekend’s near-record low temperatures and high winds have impacted customers across the Commonwealth due to a number of power outages.

As energy companies work to restore power in the area, they are also encouraging customers to conserve energy to help protect the electric grid.

Dominion Energy is now encouraging customers in Central Virginia to do the following:

  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees or lower.
  • Turn off non-essential internal and external lights.
  • Unplug non-essential appliances and devices.
  • Limit the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers.
  • Ensure HVAC vents are open and unobstructed.

Across Central Virginia, Dominion Energy and Rappahannock Electric have a few hundred homes without power. To check the latest conditions, visit each company’s outage map website.