CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy officials said late Monday morning the utility company will not need to do any more outages as temperatures warm up and the North Carolina governor wants a report on what went wrong
“Duke Energy has met today’s expected peak energy demand in the Carolinas, thanks in part to customer efforts to conserve power after the weekend’s arctic blast affecting power generation and delivery in much of the country,” Duke tweeted at 11 a.m.
Customers don’t have to make any additional measures to conserve electricity as temperatures increase and power becomes more available.
Duke Energy asked customers to conserve power until Monday morning because of the chance of rolling blackouts.
“Whether you lost power from interruptions in service or conserved energy to help others, we are deeply grateful for your patience and understanding,” said Daniel Fain, Carolinas manager grid operations.
The energy company predicted a higher demand for Monday as people return to work in freezing temperatures. Duke Energy hoped that through energy conservation they can avoid rotating blackouts altogether.
“Any remaining outages are either final repairs from the wind storm or new outages that have happened just as they do any day on the system,” a Duke Energy spokesperson told Channel 9 on Christmas Day.
Across the Carolinas, outages reported were around 170 impacting more than 4,000 customers.
Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet that he was concerned about people who lost power and didn’t get notices about the rotating outages.
“I’ve asked Duke for a complete report on what went wrong and for changes to be made,” Cooper tweeted.
Channel 9 asked Duke Energy why there wasn’t a warning.
“We typically communicate a little more proactively before events occur,” said Jeff Brooks, a Duke Energy spokesperson. “We usually provide a little more information. This weekend, the challenge was the temperatures were a little bit lower than what we forecasted. The usage was a little higher than we had forecasted.”
Brooks said the utility company was prepared.
“I think we went into the weekend even believing that we were able to manage the system reliably for customers,” Brooks said. “I think the combination of those extreme temps and usage, but also the fact this storm impacted everything from Texas up to the northeast, all the eastern U.S., limited our ability to import power where we normally would do in those situations when usage gets beyond what we could generate.”
Brooks apologized and said it was the perfect storm. In his 15 years with the utility company, he doesn’t remember the last time they did rolling blackouts.
Duke Energy said it does not expect to have to use rolling blackouts again Tuesday night.
Brooks said there will be lessons learned from this and that the solution will be to spend millions on trying to make our grid more resilient.
VIDEO: Full interview with Duke Energy spokesman about rolling blackouts over Christmas weekend
The company began temporary outages shortly after 7:30 a.m. Saturday to protect the power grid.
Just before 12 p.m. on Saturday, they told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno that they were no longer rotating outages.
“We are taking a methodical approach to restoring customers bringing on small groups sequentially so that we can keep power reliable for all customers as we complete these restorations,” Duke Energy said.
Duke Energy said the extremely cold weather is creating an unprecedented demand for the system.
Residents were asked to conserve electricity as the company works to restore the remaining outages.
On Saturday, Governor Cooper issued a statement regarding the outages saying:
“This morning I spoke with Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to offer assistance and to express urgency about the need to restore power quickly in this extreme cold while keeping customers accurately informed. I’m grateful for the workers braving the wind and cold to get the power back on.”
Gastonia experiences rolling blackouts
In Gastonia, residents are asked to limit their power use over the next 48 hours as rolling blackouts were caused by the high energy demands.
The city of Rock Hill announced the possibility of rolling blackouts lasting around 15-20 minutes. The city also announced Duke Energy will not be providing a schedule for when and where the blackouts will happen.
First responders are struggling with high call volumes as cold temperatures cause pipes to burst in homes across the Carolinas.
Charlotte Fire Department announced that they will be prioritizing life-threatening calls at this time.
A full map of outages in our area can be found here.
This is a developing story. Check back at wsoctv.com.
(WATCH BELOW: Shots fired near Duke Energy plant in SC were not an attack, sheriff says)
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