Cold Drives 4 Duke Energy Utilities to Record Highs for Winter Power Use

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK  ) announced today that four of its regulated utilities hit all-time record winter power usages over the last few days as customers heated up homes and businesses to combat extreme cold.

While more electricity use may seem ideal for power companies, utilities in extremely cold areas have been urging customers to conserve energy to avoid overstraining electrical grids. Duke said things have been going well. "Despite the challenges of the extremely cold weather, our system has responded well -- especially since we have broken usage marks that have stood for as long as five years," said Nelson Peeler, Vice President of System Operations.

New records were set for Duke Energy's Indiana, Ohio/Kentucky, Carolinas, and Progress (which also serves the Carolinas) subsidiaries. Previous highs for all four subsidiaries were set in 2009 or 2010.

According to the company:

  • For Duke Energy Indiana, a new winter usage peak of 7,214 megawatt-hours was set Monday in the hour ending at 5 p.m. That exceeded the previous record of 6,975 megawatt-hours set on Jan. 15, 2009.
  • For Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a new winter usage peak of 5,105 megawatt-hours was set Monday in the hour ending at 5 p.m. That exceeded the previous winter record of 4,599 megawatt-hours set on Jan. 16, 2009.
  • For Duke Energy Carolinas, a new winter usage peak of 20,246 megawatt-hours was set Tuesday in the hour ending at 8 a.m. That exceeded the previous winter record of 18,985 megawatt-hours set on Dec. 15, 2010.
  • For Duke Energy Progress, a new winter usage peak of 14,190 megawatt-hours was set Tuesday in the hour ending at 8 a.m. That exceeded the previous winter record of 13,884 megawatt-hours set on Jan. 11, 2010.

Energy usage seems to be tapering off today, a sign that Peeler calls "great news" as customers adapted their energy use and temperatures headed slightly higher. The utility even published a video this morning to explain recent trends and thank customers for their efforts:

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