News Release
December 14, 2004

DUKE POWER OFFERS WINTER WEATHER PREPARATION TIPS FOR MANAGING ENERGY USAGE AND STORM-RELATED POWER OUTAGES

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Based on forecasts from the National Weather Service, this winter could be colder and wetter than normal. The forecasts have the potential to increase electric bills and cause power outages. To help combat the effects of winter weather, Duke Power offers options and information to assist customers with their electric bills, energy usage and severe weather preparedness.

Understanding Your Electric Bill

Duke Power customers with billing questions are encouraged to visit www.dukepower.com and click the For Home tab to view their electric account. Accessing an account through the Web site requires an account number and zip code. Once logged in, customers can view a number of items, including their billing history for the past 13 months and comparative weather information for the same billing period last year. This information can be useful in seeing how extreme temperature differences can impact electricity usage.

Managing Your Winter Energy Usage

Duke Power’s customers pay some of the lowest prices in the Southeast – 21 percent below the national average -- so the key to keeping electric bills manageable is reducing how much electricity you use.

Consider the following tips for reducing your electricity consumption and your bills:

  • Have your heating or cooling equipment checked each season by a qualified technician to make sure it is operating properly. Heating and cooling account for about half of the energy costs for the average home.
  • Keep your thermostat 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."
  • Change air filters every month. Dirty filters can increase operating costs.
  • Make sure heating registers and vents are not blocked by draperies, furniture or rugs. These vents should also be cleaned regularly with a vacuum or a broom.
  • Check your heating system's ductwork to ensure it is well insulated.

These tips and others are available on www.dukepower.com  in the For Home tab.

Managing Your Energy Costs

Duke Power offers a variety of programs to help customers manage their monthly energy costs, including an Equal Payment Plan (EPP). With EPP, customers can pay an average amount each month for 11 months and settle up in the 12th month.

For more information customers can visit www.dukepower.com and click on the For Home tab, or contact Duke Power by calling the 24-hour customer service number listed in their local telephone directory.

Storm-Related Power Outages

Along with colder temperatures, the winter months can bring ice, snow and severe weather conditions. When severe weather strikes, power outages can occur. Duke Power encourages customers to be prepared and offers the following tips to help lessen the inconvenience of power outages.

When Severe Weather Is Forecasted

  • Ensure you have an adequate stock of storm supplies, including flashlights, candles, matches, batteries, medicines, first aid supplies, baby items, bottled water, non-perishable food and firewood.
  • Homeowners with wells should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
  • If you have an emergency heating source, learn how to use it properly to prevent fire and ensure proper ventilation.

During An Outage

  • To quickly report your power outage, call Duke Power's toll-free, automated outage reporting line 800/POWERON (800/769-3766); Spanish-speaking customers can call 866/4-APAGON (866/427-2466).
  • Consider moving yourself and your family -- especially those with special needs   -- to an alternate location during an extended outage.
  • Don't leave candles unattended and keep them away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Remember to keep children away from open flames.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible.
  • Listen to local radio stations for reports from Duke Power about affected areas and restoration activities.
  • Turn off your heating and air conditioning systems and consider unplugging sensitive electronic appliances such as TVs, VCRs, microwave ovens and home computers, etc., during a power outage. This will protect your appliances against unpreventable voltage fluctuations that may occur as a result of a circuit overload when the power is restored. Be sure to wait 5 to 10 minutes before turning on appliances and heating systems when power is restored.

For Your Safety

  • Stay away from all downed or sagging power lines.
  • Consider all power lines energized.
  • Do not touch anything on or near a power line (e.g., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders, etc.)
  • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, schools yards, etc.)
  • If a power line falls across your car, stay inside. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or other life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Avoid contact with the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • Report all hazardous situations involving power lines to Duke Power and your local emergency officials.

For more information, customers can visit www.dukepower.com, or contact Duke Power by calling the 24-hour customer service number listed in their local telephone directory.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 2004, Duke Power celebrates 100 years of service. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: http://www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in North America and selected international markets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Paige Layne
Phone: 704/382-3029 or 704/594-0369
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: pclayne@duke-energy.com