Nearly 340,000 Duke Energy customers were without power at noon Eastern time, according to the utility’s outage map, including more than 140,000 in the Charlotte area. The number of customers without power in the Carolinas approached 500,000 at one point Saturday morning.
“Due to bitterly cold temperatures surrounding much of the country and subsequent demand for power, power supplies are extremely tight,” parent company Duke Energy wrote. Press release on Saturday. The agency said the temporary outages, lasting 15 to 30 minutes, were “necessary to extend available power generation and maintain operations until additional power is available.”
But for some of the hundreds of thousands of Duke Energy customers without power, the move came without warning and at a bad time: Homes in the Carolinas are bracing for a weekend of extreme temperatures as families gather for Christmas Eve and Hanukkah. Temperatures on Saturday dropped to single-digit wind chills for much of North and South Carolina.
“I can’t believe @DukeEnergy cut the power in my #Charlotte neighborhood at 7am on Christmas Eve with no warning & now saying these were planned outages” Tweeted Leslie Mack said, “The company also failed to send automated text messages to your customers to allow us to prepare. It is the coldest day of the year.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) Tweeted He spoke with Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good “to provide assistance and accurately communicate to customers the need to quickly restore power in this extreme cold weather.”
“I am grateful that the workers braving the wind and cold are getting power back,” the governor wrote.
This morning I spoke with Duke Energy CEO Lynne Goode about the need to quickly restore power to customers in this extreme cold weather. Thanks to the workers who braved the wind and cold to get the power back on. – R.C
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 24, 2022
A Duke Energy spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday morning.
At least 1.5 million people across the country Friday was without power, and a terrible storm tore through much of the country. Storm winds knocked out power in Texas and the East Coast, particularly in Virginia and North Carolina. In Louisiana, the state’s fire marshal noted “several instances of widespread power outages in various locations across our state” and urged people to explore alternative power and heating options.
The focus on North Carolina’s power grid comes weeks later Firing at two power substations Thousands of homes were left without power in the central part of the state, highlighting the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. FBI He is investigating.
The National Weather Service The agency issued wind-chill warnings Saturday morning for parts of the western Carolinas, where temperatures could feel like minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit, the agency said.
Among the notes Duke Energy Delivered to customers “Choose the lowest comfortable thermostat setting and turn it down several degrees whenever possible,” “Avoid using large appliances” and “Schedule non-essential activities such as laundry to the evening hours, when electricity demand is low.”
“We sincerely appreciate the cooperation and patience of our customers as we take these measures to help ensure system stability and reliability for everyone,” said Daniel Stephens, manager of system operations for Duke Energy Carolinas. Press release.
Due to the lack of warning about load shedding, the customers were very dissatisfied.
“Make it meaningful,” one customer said Tweeted.
“I don’t blame DukeEnergy if they have to do this. “It’s got to be a tough call.” Tweeted Author Corey Inscoe. “But it seems they should have warned people and/or let people know if their outage was intentional or caused by the storm.”
Others noted the timing of the outage, with one critic renaming a popular Dr. Seuss holiday story: “How Duke Energy Stole Christmas.”
And some, well, could not find out why their power during extreme winter weather.
“Duke Energy blacked out our power,” author Dennis Mercereau wrote. “It’s 8 degrees.”
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”