Charlotte, N.C., December 16, 2010 – Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas Wednesday set an all-time record for winter power use. The utility generated 17,570 MW of electricity for the hour ending at 8 a.m.
The previous winter peak of 17,282 MW was set on Jan. 11, 2010.
Weather is a major driver of electricity use. About 50 percent of a customer’s energy costs are attributed to heating and cooling the home.
“During a similar cold snap last year, the average residential customer saw a 30 percent increase in his or her power bill. We could see a similar trend this season,” said Gianna Manes, Duke Energy‘s chief customer officer. “We often forget that when the temperatures drop, our heating systems work harder and longer to maintain the comfort level in our homes.”
“We encourage customers who may have difficulty paying a higher-than-expected bill to give us a call early to discuss options including special assistance programs and possible payment arrangements,” Manes added.
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,000 MW of electricity capacity to about 2.4 million customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.