While Webster Electric Cooperative doesn't expect citizens to lose power, they're asking customers to do their part to reduce energy use and offering insight on the rolling blackouts that millions of Americans have been experiencing during the extreme weather event covering a large portion of the country. Please email your winter weather photos to news@marshfieldmail. com for a chance to be featured online or in the next edition.

"We had one or two outages, but no one was out of power for an extended period of time," said Tom Houston, general manager of Webster Electric Cooperative.

He spoke in regards to the snowstorm that occurred on Monday. Houston said they had one crew working off and on that day, but that's not uncommon.

"If we had spring storm roll through or extreme hot weather, we would see that, too," he said. "It's just part of the system."

On Monday, the Webster Electric Cooperative and its power supplier, Associated Electric, shared tips on a Facebook post, advising residents to reduce their impact on the electrical grid by reducing electricity use as much as possible.

"Those tips we shared are just good common sense conservation practices that we try to keep residents aware of and every little bit helps, like making sure to turn off the lights in a room if you're not using them," he said.

Regarding a post about rolling blackouts, Houston said the purpose was to get information out to the public and be proactive in the event something happened.

"It's just a way for people to be aware, so they could start preparing if it got to a point rolling blackouts needed to be implemented," he said. "The electrical system is very complex and consists of many moving parts, which several of those parts were being affected at one time, due to the extreme amount of cold weather. For anything like this, you have to plan for the worst and hope for the best."

Houston said their biggest issue usually this time of year involves ice storms and ice accumulation.

"Our issue is with the ice, where the roads get slick and people take out poles or other pieces of equipment in accidents. Since there wasn't ice involved, we didn't really have to prepare anything, but just stay alert. If we could put a finger on one main cause with the grid thing, it's the fact that we have an extreme weather event affecting a large part of the country at one time."

With the weather and electricity bills, Houston said he does expect bills to be much higher over the next month because people just use more, but he stressed that the electric rate itself hasn't changed.

"Your electric rate will not be increasing, just the amount of electricity you use," he said. "It's like if you usually drive five miles a month in your car, then you drive a thousand miles a month, obviously you're going to spend more on gas. It's the same way with your electricity. You're only paying for what you use. If your bill goes up, it's only because your usage has increased."

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