CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The extreme drop in temperatures in the Charlotte area has electricity usage soaring to new highs.

Duke Energy says its customers used a record amount of electricity since the bitter cold moved into local counties. The amount is higher than any previous winter day.

With below-freezing temperatures expected to continue, Duke asks customers to conserve energy.

For now, the supply is adequate to meet demand.
All available units are operating, and extreme usage could cause a circuit to overload or equipment to break, resulting in customers losing power. Duke asks residents to turn off unnecessary lights and appliances.

Other tips include:

  • 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.

Duke typically only asks customer to participate in voluntary conservation during the hottest days of summer or coldest days of winter.

Customers without power can call Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766) or Duke Energy Progress: 1-800-419-6356.

If power goes out, Duke recommends:

  • 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.
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