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Newfoundlanders asked to save power as cold snap pushes grid to limit

Linemen replace blown transformers as they attempt to return power to residential customers in St.John's on Jan. 6, 2014.

PAUL DALY/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A cold snap gripping much of Newfoundland and Labrador drove electricity demands close to capacity today as consumers are being asked to conserve.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says shortly after 7:30 a.m., peak load reached 1,406 megawatts, about 44 megawatts less than forecast.

The system has 1,575 megawatts of power available with maximum demand over the next three days expected of between 1,400 and 1,500 megawatts.

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The utility has asked residential consumers to conserve hot water, turn down thermostats and not use clothes dryers in the mornings and evenings.

Temperatures around the province are expected to hit about -20 degrees but will feel much colder in some regions with wind chills.

The request to conserve power comes two months after power failures across Newfoundland were blamed on unusual cold, high winds and equipment malfunctions.

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