Energy usage during extreme cold sets record

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How to save on your energy bill (WTVD)

Energy usage during extreme cold sets record
The snow and frigid temperatures has many cranking up the heat . So much that Duke Energy Carolinas customers set an all-time peak record for energy usage between 7 and 8 a.m. on Friday, January 5th.

"We often see an increase in usage during this time as people are getting ready for work, taking showers, drying their hair, cooking their breakfast so this is a typical time where we see an increase in energy usage but given the extreme cold temperatures that we saw this past week and on Friday, there is an even greater increase in energy usage for our customers," said Duke Energy spokeswoman Meredith Archie.

Customers used 21,623 megawatt-hours, beating the previous record of 21,101 megawatt-hours form February 20, 2015.

Archie compares that usage to lighting 20,000 homes for a year.

Some Duke Energy customers experienced power outages.

"We're dealing with electrical and mechanical equipment so we did see some scattered outages that were caused by the extreme low temperatures but overall our crews and our system operations were really focused on making sure we had enough energy to meet our customers' needs at the time where they really needed their energy the most," Archie said.

Unfortunately, the higher usage will mean a higher bill for most of us next month. Archie said Duke Energy has programs to help those needing assistance paying their energy bills.

Click here to get info on a program for Duke Energy Carolinas customers.

For info on a program for Duke Energy Progress customers:

Contact the local Department of Social Services for your county or call the CARELINE at 800.662.7030.

You can also visit the "billing and payment" page.

Duke Energy has these tips on saving on your heating bill:

Heating

  • Check your furnace filter monthly and replace it when it appears dirty.
  • Lower your thermostat temperature to the lowest temperature that is comfortable to your family. You may save as much as 3 percent on your energy bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. Reduce your thermostat setting at night and when you are away.
  • The "auto" thermostat setting on central heating systems may save you money.
  • If you have a heat pump, keep the outdoor unit clear of grass, leaves and especially drifting snow around the outdoor coil.
  • Never switch a heat pump to the "emergency heat" setting on the thermostat, unless the unit is malfunctioning. This switch will turn off your energy-efficient heat pump. Using only your backup electric or gas furnace without the heat pump could double your heating costs.


Fireplaces
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use.
  • Consider installing doors over the fireplace opening to reduce drafts and heat loss through the chimney.
  • Do not use a fireplace during extreme cold. Most fireplaces that are open to the living space will increase winter heating costs.

Around the house

  • Air infiltration can account for one-half of your heating costs in a leaky home. Seal air leaks with caulking, weatherstripping and sheets of plastic on large areas.
  • Close and seal heat registers that attempt to heat a cold, uninsulated garage, porch or attic storage room.
  • Have a professional verify proper insulation levels in walls and ceilings and check to be sure they meet standards or have not been damaged.
  • Keep windows and doors located near your thermostat closed tightly.
  • Keep heat sources such as lamps away from the thermostat.
  • Keep draperies and shades open on sunny days but close them on cloudy days and at night.
  • Keep all heating outlets and return-air grills free from obstructions, such as draperies, furniture and rugs. Clean vents regularly with a vacuum or broom.

Attics and crawl spaces

  • If you have ductwork in the attic or garage, be sure it is covered with at least 6 inches of insulation. Seal seams and joints in ductwork with duct sealing compound.
  • If your home has a crawl space with air vents in the walls, close the vents and seal with insulation from the inside during the winter.
  • Insulate basement and crawl space walls. If your basement or crawl space is a cold, unoccupied area, then the floor between the cold area and the living space should also be insulated.

For winter heating tips:

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