CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy is asking its North Carolina and South Carolina customers to reduce electricity use during the next 24 hours to help avoid potentially high energy demand on the electrical grid caused by frigid temperatures.
The most critical time to reduce electricity usage is Thursday between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
“The forecasted conditions are very similar to those we experienced last January during the Polar Vortex, and are affecting a large portion of the country,” said Nelson Peeler, Duke Energy vice president of transmission system operations. “We currently have sufficient generation resources to meet our customers’ energy needs, but we know from experience that conditions can change quickly, and we need to be prepared.”
Detailed Grid Management Plan
Duke Energy has a detailed plan to manage the power grid in extreme conditions.
The plan includes:
- Running all available generation units.
- Activating a number of voluntary customer programs that reduce energy demand.
- Purchasing power from other utilities.
- Asking customers to voluntarily reduce energy usage.
“If necessary and conditions change, we would need to initiate forced power reductions that would result in rotating or sustained power outages across the grid,” Peeler said.
He added that forced power reductions would be the last and most extreme action the company would take to protect the power grid. It’s a step required when the demand for energy across the grid exceeds the amount of energy that’s available.
“In the unlikely event power reductions are needed Thursday morning, customers could experience rotating or sustained power outages as our operators work to lessen the demand on our system,” Peeler added.
If power reductions occur, Duke Energy will inform customers via the media and updates on the company’s website and social media channels.
What you can do to help lessen energy demand:
- Reduce your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.
- Turn off unnecessary lighting.
- Postpone household chores that require electrical appliances.
- Unplug cellphone / tablet chargers. These devices draw energy even when not in use.
- Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
- Leave your drapes or blinds open to allow the sun’s rays to warm the house.
Find these and other tips at www.duke-energy.com. Just click on the “save energy and money” link.
The low temperatures will put higher stress on mechanical equipment used to generate and deliver electricity. Isolated equipment problems are possible, which could result in unplanned scattered outages.
Customers who experience power outages should call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting systems for their respective utility at 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766).