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Energy companies asking Arkansas customers to reduce power usage during winter weather

The concern isn't power outages with this winter weather but the record-high power usage that's happening across the state.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Electric companies are seeing record-high power usage as people hunker down inside.

Rob Roedel with Electric Cooperative of Arkansas says the next 36 hours are crucial for people to be mindful of how much power they use.

CenterPoint Energy is seeing the same thing... even asking larger consumers of power to scale back.

"Commercial and industrial customers who tend to be heavier users of natural gas have stepped up and are reducing their operations," said Ross Corson with CenterPoint Energy.

The increased usage of power is due to more people being at home and trying to stay warm during these frigid temperatures, but there's also a national reason the demand for natural gas is so high.

"Natural gas prices are at a high," said Roedel. "There's also an issue with getting natural gas because so much of it is going towards power plants. Most of our energy now is created by natural gas power plants."

All of these combined could mean your energy bill will skyrocket.

"If your normal bill is $100 and it's 25% more you're going to get $125 bill. If it's extremely cold, it could be even more," said Roedel.

But there are things you can do to help ease the strain.

To conserve energy, delay running your laundry and dishwashing machine, wait a day or two to take your next shower, turn your thermostat down to low to mid 60's, and unplug any unnecessary appliances.

Ross Corson with CenterPoint Energy says just lowing the thermostat could save you up to 10% on your next bill.

CenterPoint Energy is not looking at doing rolling blackouts right now.

A representative for Entergy Arkansas said there is a potential for planned outages, but right now they are asking their customers to reduce their usage, so that doesn't happen.