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By Sonny Jones

Duke Energy said it met Monday’s expected peak energy demand in the Carolinas and did not have any rolling outages for the second consecutive day during a Christmas weekend that brought extremely cold temperatures.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants to know what happened with Saturday’s statewide outages, tweeting “Duke Energy assures me NC is in the clear now. But I’m deeply concerned about people who lost power and who didn’t get notice about rotating outages. Grateful for those who conserved energy. I’ve asked Duke for a complete report on what went wrong and for changes to be made.”

As a result of gradually warming temperatures and improved power availability, no additional conservation measures are needed from customers at this time, the company said Monday afternoon.

“Whether you lost power from interruptions in service or conserved energy to help others, we are deeply grateful for your patience and understanding,” said Carolinas manager grid operations, Daniel Fain.

Duke Energy thanked customers for efforts to conserve power the past two days after outages were needed Saturday.

“Whether you lost power – or conserved power – we are grateful to you,” the company said in a message to customers.

“For many across the Carolinas, 2022’s holiday season has been uniquely difficult. First, the gale-force winds ravaging across the U.S. took out trees, power lines and poles – leaving many in the dark. And then record cold set in, driving up energy demand and further taxing the grid.

“We are grateful to all of you for your patience and understanding. First to all who lost power from that initial storm and had to wait in the bitter cold. Second, to those who lost power during the emergency outages that followed and had to wait – sometimes longer than anticipated – for power to be restored. And finally, to all who generously delayed extra energy use during this critical period to help keep the lights on for others.

“The emergency power outages and requests for energy conservation are a rare occurrence – and a situation we always strive to avoid. Unfortunately, in this case, the temporary outages were necessary to protect the grid from more extensive damage, which would have meant lengthier repairs and longer, more widespread power outages.

“Again, our thanks to everyone – and especially to those who had to wait, sometimes for hours longer than planned over a holiday weekend, for their power to be restored. We have never been more grateful to serve this strong and generous community,” the company’s message concluded.

Duke Energy customers in Bladen County were left in the cold Christmas Eve morning as the utility interrupted service as part of a plan to deal with higher demand and tighter electricity supplies brought on by extremely cold temperatures.

The company cut power to most of Bladen County around 7 a.m. Saturday. In a news release, Duke Energy said it expected “load shedding” to continue until at least 8:30 to 9 a.m. and be in 15 to 30 minute blocks although that timing could vary. However, many customers in Bladen County were without power until early Saturday afternoon.