A shot of late January like cold is descending upon a large chunk of the country. Temperatures are expected to stay below the zero mark until sometime Tuesday. Owatonna Public Utilities is asking its customers for help in energy usage during this cold snap. The concern is price spikes in natural gas due to the high demand. During the winter of 2013-14 customers saw passed on higher charges on their bill and OPU is offering some suggestions which may help alleviate or at least buffer the higher charges this time around.

Use your programmable thermostat and set the temperature lower when you aren't going to be home. Wash your clothes in cold water and take a short shower instead of a bath. Place a rug under doors that you feel cold air seeping under. Turn down or turn off the heat in your garage.

Sunday the forecast is calling for sunshine. At which time you're advised to open your south side windows and drapes to help warm your home. When at home wear slippers and even a sweater or sweatshirt. Enjoy a warm drink such as coffee or tea.

OPU states that if many people do a small part it may help to lower the possible price spikes expected during this cold spell.