Progress Energy Customers Set New Winter Record for Peak Electricity Demand

Jan 11, 2010, 17:06 ET from Progress Energy Carolinas

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As heating systems work overtime in response to an extended cold snap, Progress Energy Carolinas customers today set a record for peak electricity demand in winter.

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Between 7 and 8 a.m., as systemwide temperatures dropped to teens and single digits in some areas, customers used 12,504 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity. That eclipsed the prior winter peak-demand record of 12,142 MWh, set on the morning of Feb. 6, 2007.

The all-time hourly peak-demand record for Progress Energy Carolinas customers was set Aug. 9, 2007, at 12,656 MWh, in triple-digit heat.

"We're working 24 hours a day to ensure that our customers have the power they need through this significant cold weather," said Lloyd Yates, CEO and president of Progress Energy Carolinas, which serves 1.5 million households and businesses in North Carolina and South Carolina. "We do not expect problems in meeting our customers' demand for electricity, but we encourage customers to learn more about how they can use energy wisely and efficiently - not only on frigid mornings but every day."

Progress Energy uses a mix of resources to meet the needs of customers in the region, including nuclear and fossil-fueled power plants, hydroelectric plants, biofuels, solar energy and energy efficiency. Progress Energy has a number of energy-efficiency programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers and demand-side management programs that help reduce electricity demand. The company's Web site provides information on energy-saving opportunities for homeowners.

Household use of electricity, on average, has increased about 50 percent in the last three decades, due to growth in the average size of homes and increased use of electronics in daily life.

Progress Energy offers these tips for cold-weather energy conservation:

  • Keep the thermostat on your heating system at the lowest comfortable setting. If you are going to be away for several days, turn the thermostat to a lower setting, but not to "Off." A sudden frigid snap could cause your pipes to freeze and burst.
  • Check filters at least monthly and clean or change them as needed. Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20 percent and can damage equipment.
  • Caulk any space around windows and other places where air leaks to prevent cold drafts and heat escape.
  • Use exhaust fans sparingly in winter. Heat and moisture from bathing and cooking contribute heat to your home. But don't use the oven to heat a room.
  • If your home has a fireplace, be sure the damper fits tightly, and close it when the fireplace is not in use. Add a glass fireplace screen.
  • Cover bare floors. Carpeting adds to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Use ceiling fans in winter to distribute heat around the room. Reverse the direction of the fan blades from that used for summer cooling.
  • Use insulated or heavy curtains on windows facing the north side of the house. Keep curtains and shades closed at night and on cloudy days.
  • For heat pump users, set the thermostat to a constant setting and leave it there, and make sure drapes and furniture are not blocking air registers or returns.
  • Keep the oven, the refrigerator and other appliances clean. Clean equipment runs more efficiently.
  • Use microwave ovens whenever possible. They use less than half the power of a conventional oven.
  • Whenever possible, wash full loads in the dishwasher and clothes washing machine, rather than partial loads.
  • Take short showers instead of tub baths and install a flow restrictor or energy-saving shower head.
  • Look for EnergyGuide labels on most major home appliances. The more efficient models save you money in the long run.

Progress Energy's balanced strategy includes increased energy efficiency, investments in renewable and alternative energy sources and state-of-the-art power plants.

In addition to the savethewatts Web site, the company provides information on efficiency programs and other ways for customers to save energy and money at Customers also can learn more about the company's Energy Neighbor Fund, which provides funding for heating assistance to low-income customers.

Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve approximately 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company's Web site at

SOURCE Progress Energy Carolinas