Power outages preps | High winds, bitter cold: Duke Energy and customers prep for possibility of power outages
Duke Energy officials are following forecasts as they brace for high winds and freezing temperatures over the next few days.
“We’re expecting some of the coldest temperatures around here in a long time over the next 24 hours,” said Jeff Brooks, spokesman for Duke Energy.
Consistent rain across the triangle Thursday morning, extending into early afternoon, created saturated ground ahead of Friday’s expected strong wind gusts.
“All of this combined can create the potential for failures. This wet soil and high winds are usually where trees start to fall over,” Brooks said.
Customers have stocked up on items in anticipation of the upcoming stretch, including Lisa Kelly, who stopped by Burke Brothers Hardware on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh on Thursday.
“We will sit back and be indoors in this cold weather this coming weekend. We do antifreeze in our cars, just get small items, small groceries so we don’t have to go out,” Kelly said.
She left work early to beat the rush.
“We are very worried, especially when the power goes out. That’s why I’m buying the FireStart so I’ll have wood to keep us warm, but yeah it’ll probably get treacherous if the power goes out and we can’t cook food,” Kelly explained.
Shop owner Jeff Hastings explained that he saw an increase in customer numbers in mid-Monday.
“You take the advice of what you tell them to get ready for them. A lot of the faucet covers come for stuff like that. Heat tape for the pipes that will be exposed,” Hastings said.
Employees spent Wednesday rearranging the store as they work to make cold-weather items more accessible.
“It’s been a long time since temperatures have been below freezing, let alone in the single digits. So there will be some pipes that burst. So we have all the repair stuff that we’re going to bring front and center so people don’t have to run around the store looking for something while the house is leaking water,” Hastings explained.
Brooks said the combination of wind and rain poses a bigger problem during outages than the cold itself.
“We expect to be able to meet customer demand at that point, and we also have a diverse energy mix that allows us to select the best resources to do this in the most cost-effective way, and potentially power from other parts of the world.” country to import land if necessary,” Brooks said.
With temperatures approaching the single digits, Duke Energy expects energy use to increase as people try to stay warm, particularly during the Christmas celebrations.
“The little things about the holidays add up. We have many holiday lights that consume a lot of energy. So that’s one more thing you can do to reduce your energy use and save money,” Brooks explained.
He suggested people turn their thermostats down if possible, but cautioned against turning them off entirely, even when traveling.
“A lot of modern homes have zone heating, and we tend to condition zones that we don’t use, so in many ways that’s a huge waste of energy,” Brooks said.
“We have a full line of insulation and sealing strips, plus some protection and caulking for the drafty spots,” Hastings remarked.
Some shops close early on Saturday on Christmas Eve and on Sunday the whole of Christmas. Therefore, it is important to stock up on any products you may need now, as last-minute shopping opportunities are limited.
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