PJM Interconnection, power grid operator, asking customers to conserve

CENTREVILLE, Va. (AP/WJLA) - It's only fitting that at the Milwaukee Creamery, a custard shop in Centreville, owner Christine McAlughin had to actually take her cakes out of the freezer.

The company that operates the power grid that supplies energy for more than 61 million people in parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South is calling for the public to conserve electricity Tuesday because of the extreme cold.

That meant that McAlughin had to take her cakes out of their freezers in case of a power outage and left the shop's thermostat at 50.

"We haven't had to do that in years," she said. "It causes us issues, but we just deal with it."

PJM Interconnection operates the power grid in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The grid operator asks the public to conserve electricity Tuesday, especially from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

PJM says conservation efforts will help ensure adequate power supplies. It says that it is working with state governments and utilities to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, at the Dominion Power operations center in Herndon, employees are monitoring issues and outages across the Commonwealth and dispatching crews where needed.

Manager Danny Register says the extreme weather not only strains equipment in the field, it causes people to change their habits.

"When you have extreme temperatures like this, you're going to get a lot of power usage, and that's what we saw this morning," he said.