Record-breaking cold accompanied by gusty winds pushed power usage to record levels across Maine and the rest of New England on Friday.

ISO New England (search), which operates the region's power grid, called on electricity customers in the six New England states to voluntary conserve power as an old-fashioned, bone-rattling cold snap maintained its grip on the region.

Spokeswoman Erin O'Brien described the call as a "precautionary" step, given possible problems with equipment stressed by the extended cold and extremely high demand. However, she said, there should be sufficient generation to meet the demand.