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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP & WUSA9) - 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.

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. It asks that you turn down your thermostat and avoid using major appliances during those times.

In a press release, PJM said, "On Tuesday morning, PJM set a new winter peak of 138,600 megawatts (one megawatt is enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.) That record was expected to be broken Tuesday night as the grid operator projected demand for electricity of about 140,000 megawatts."

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.

Consumers can take the following electricity conservation steps:
Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits,
Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases, and
Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.