NORFOLK - With temperatures below freezing, Dominion Virginia Power is urging customers to use energy wisely.

Spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley Harris explains why it's a good idea to conserve.

'The less energy you use, the less strain on our system and the quicker our crews can make restorations in the event of outages,' she says.

When the heat is turned up across the region, Dominion has to restore the power in smaller increments, she adds.

That wasn't the cause of most of the outages during the last snowfall. Blame the high winds that pushed tree limbs onto power lines and vehicles losing control and hitting utility poles.

Billingsley Harris says there are times of the day when you be of most help.

'During peak hours like six to ten in the morning and five to nine at night. During those times, if you can wait to do laundry, wait to cook, turn off the lights, that will be helpful,' she notes.

Billingsley Harris it's also helpful to unplug any appliances you aren't using.

If you experience an outage or see any downed power lines, call 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) .

Experts say you should be prepared in case you lose power and suggest you have a plan 'B.'

Home Depot on Virginia Beach Boulevard still had generators, batteries and flashlights Tuesday afternoon.

Manager Damien Taylor said, 'Portable generators- we have a couple of those in stock, all of our stores have those in stock. Outside of those, you'll need some form of non electric heat.'

Taylor said his store was sold out of non-electric heaters, salt and snow shovels.

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