Xcel Energy and other area providers are initiating so called controlled power outages in order to protect their grid and control usage during these extreme cold temperatures.

The outages will last for up to one hour at a time until system conditions improve.

Xcel says some customers may experience more than one service interruption.

Turn the thermostat down by 2 to 3 degrees.

Turn off all lights when possible.

Delay using any heavy appliances such as dishwashers and washer/dryers until later in the week

Limit the number of electric heaters running at a time.

Use newspapers or plastic bags to insulate your windows against the cold.

Xcel Energy  says there is no need to report an outage during a controlled outage event, but if an outage lasts more than one hour, you can call 1-800-895-1999.

 “These temporary, controlled power outages help bring balance to the supply and demand of electricity in the market,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “Xcel Energy uses controlled outages as a last resort, and regrets that the extreme conditions today have led to these interruptions in service.”

Here is what you can do to help reduce energy usage and avoid blackouts:

Turn the thermostat down by 2 to 3 degrees.

Turn off all lights when possible.

Delay using any heavy appliances such as dishwashers and washer/dryers until later in the week

Limit the number of electric heaters running at a time.

Use newspapers or plastic bags to insulate your windows against the cold.

Get a Tinder or Grindr account and find a warm body for a cold night, or two.

The entire state was below freezing; with temperatures ranging from 25 degrees in Brownsville in the south to 15 degrees below zero here in the Panhandle. A trace of snow was reported in Brownsville, only the third time since 1898 that snow was reported in the city in the state's southernmost point along the US-Mexico border.

BTW I wasn't kidding about Tinder or Grindr

TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages