Duke Energy: 'Consumer demand' knocks out power to those in cold - FOX Carolina 21

Duke Energy: 'Consumer demand' knocks out power to those in cold

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Duke Energy reported thousands of outages across the Upstate and western North Carolina in the wake of frigid temperatures.

And a spokesperson for the utility company said that outages are caused by an increase in "consumer demand" as people try to warm their homes because of the record-breaking temperatures.

Spokesperson Ryan Mosier said the two major Upstate ongoing outages are in Oconee County, where 2,500 customers remain without power, and in northern Greenville County, where about 1,400 customers are without power. He said there are additional scattered outages across the area.

According to Duke's website, almost 3,800 customers were without power at one point in Oconee County on Monday night, with the number lowering to just over 2,500 about 10:30  a.m. Tuesday.

Duke Energy said the low temperatures were to blame for scattered outages, as the cold temperatures put stress on their equipment. Mosier said crews anticipate similar outages again Tuesday night as the temperatures are forecast to fall again.

The numbers have fluctuated since Monday night, but several hundred customers in Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg counties remained without power Tuesday morning. And in western North Carolina, thousands were without power in several counties including Henderson, Rutherford and Transylvania.

Thousands of Duke Energy Progress customers in the mountains were also without power early Tuesday morning. Their website reported more than 4,000 customers without power in the Asheville-Buncombe County area.

Duke suggests checking your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water and medicines when the temperatures drop. They also suggest checking on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs during the cold weather.

Mosier said there are few things customers can do to alleviate both their bill and conserve energy to prevent future outages.

  • Select the lowest comfortable heat setting when at home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.
  • Set ceiling fans to operate in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
  • Leave drapes or blinds open to help warm the house.
  • Change air filters regularly because dirty air filters makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.

The temperatures dropped to record-breaking levels. FOX Carolina meteorologist Nicole Papay said temperatures registered at 0 degrees about 5 a.m., busting the 3-degree record from 1879. And at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, the 1904 record was broken when the temperatures dropped to 8 degrees Tuesday morning.

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