SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson

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Duke Energy customers use record amount of electricity; company continues to ask for conservation

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to extremely cold temperatures and high energy demand, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas customers have used more energy than any previous winter day.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130322/CL81938LOGO )

With more frigid temperatures in the forecast, the company continues to ask customers to conserve electricity.

System operators are closely monitoring the electric transmission system. The company has an adequate supply of electricity to meet demand.

While all available generating units are operating, customers could still experience power outages. This occurs because extremely heavy demand causes some equipment to break or overload a circuit. When that happens, a fuse or circuit breaker operates in the substation, just like it would in your home.

To help avoid this, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) requests customers turn off lights and unplug appliances.

As of early afternoon, electricity had been restored to more than 100,000 customers in the Carolinas – and the company continues to make restorations as outages occur.

Earlier today, Duke Energy asked for voluntary conservation from its industrial and residential customers due to these severe conditions.

"The voluntary conservation efforts of our industrial and residential customers helped ensure our ability to provide a steady supply of electricity to our customers," said Nelson Peeler, vice president, system operations. "We appreciate our customers' patience and cooperation during this historic weather event."

Certain Duke Energy customers participate in voluntary load management programs that are designed to help reduce electricity demand during periods of unusually high usage. Typically those periods occur during the heat of summer or the coldest days of winter.

If the power goes out

To be prepared, customers should consider the following tips:

  • Check your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
  • Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
  • Do not attempt to heat your home with a gas grill or by bringing a generator inside. Only operate such equipment outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies. Encourage them to determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.

If you lose power, please turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This will help with restoration efforts as it will reduce the immediate demand on the power lines when power is restored.

Once your power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning your equipment back on.

Below are some steps customers can take to manage their energy demand:

  • The thermostat is a real culprit of higher winter bills. To help save energy and money, select the lowest comfortable setting when home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.
  • The ceiling fan in the home is a great way to stay cool in the summer – and warm in the winter. Simply set the fans to operate 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.
  • Inefficient heating can also add to monthly power bills during colder temperatures. One of the easiest things customers can do to support heating efficiency is to change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.

Find these and other tips at www.duke-energy.com. Just click on the "save energy and money" link. 

Customers who experience an outage should call Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting systems for their respective utility:

  • Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)
  • Duke Energy Progress: 1-800-419-6356

Customers may also report an outage or view current outages online at www.duke-energy.com/storms.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.  

24-hour media line: 800.559.3853

SOURCE Duke Energy

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