Little Rock — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas ask members to immediately limit the use of electric service through the next 24 hours to ensure that members will continue to receive at least a minimum of electric service. Additional appeals may be necessary.

According to Andrew Lachowsky, vice president of planning and market operations for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, this is an emergency situation and that rolling electrical outages are possible, unless electric consumption is reduced immediately. He said because of the extremely cold weather and the unusually high requirement for electricity, Arkansas’ electric cooperatives and other regional utilities have reached a point where demand for electricity has exceeded the supply. The western part of Arkansas is particularly impacted at the current time, and it is possible conditions may worsen state-wide.

Electric cooperative officials are working diligently with the reliability coordinator to restore normal service as soon as possible.

“This is an unprecedented time, and we urge electric cooperative members to immediately reduce the use of electrical requirements by turning off or not using non-essential lights and electric appliances, especially electric water heaters, clothes dryers, and dishwashers and to turn heating thermostats to lower settings,” he said.

Lachowsky emphasized that public cooperation is essential until the electric power issue has passed. If reductions are not sufficient to permit continuity of service, it may be necessary to begin temporary interruptions of electric service in specific areas across the state.

Cooperative representatives are also directly contacting large industrial and commercial members asking their cooperation as well. The interconnections of electric systems frequently make it possible for one system to secure additional electricity from neighboring systems. However, the present extreme cold weather is widespread in this region, making additional electric power very limited. Thus, conservation of energy is important to help insure a restoration of complete electric service. The cooperatives will continue to keep the public advised of further developments concerning cutbacks of electric power.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and AECC, a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 500,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

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