Duke Energy officials are asking customers to reduce electricity use during the next 24 hours to help avoid potential high-energy demand on the electrical grid caused by frigid temperatures. 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.
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."
To help lessen energy demand on the power grid during the next 24 hours and reduce the potential for isolated power outages, Duke Energy offers the following tips:
- 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.
Duke Energy has a detailed plan to manage the power grid in extreme conditions:
- Running all available generation units;
- purchasing power from other utilities.
"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.