Extreme conditions, caused by weather or other events, can put a severe strain on the energy grid and available power supplies.
That's why we have detailed plans for managing the grid through all types of extreme conditions, from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. We use historical data, real-time analysis and predictive modeling, advanced technologies and years of operational experience, to help reliably meet customer energy needs – even in the most challenging of times.
During periods of unusually high demand, you can help by conserving energy – see our tips.
What we're doing
Here are some of the ways we're working throughout the year to help protect the energy grid and to provide the reliability you count on:
- Regular Testing: We test our system against a variety of possible scenarios, incorporating best practices and lessons learned from both our own teams and peer utilities.
- Continuous Tracking and Monitoring: We have dedicated teams of meteorologists who track weather conditions and system operators who monitor the electric grid system 24/7.
- Grid Strengthening and Hardening: We have made significant improvements to our energy system to better withstand a variety of threats, from extreme weather to cyberattacks. Our increasingly climate-resilient grid is smarter, stronger and prepared for the sustainable growth of cleaner energy options and distributed resources.
- Preventive Maintenance: We regularly maintain our generating plants, including the use of freeze protections for sensitive equipment.
- Flood Mitigation: We are taking steps in the Carolinas to help protect critical infrastructure from the threat of flooding, including improved flood mitigation barriers around substations and, in some instances, raising or relocating essential systems.
The resiliency of a regulated utility
As a regulated utility, we are required to meet reliability standards through comprehensive long-term planning and adequate power reserves. This planning helps drive strategic improvements in our generating fleet and power delivery infrastructure. This also helps us identify and address potential reliability risks before they occur, while keeping rates as low as possible – all so we can reliably serve customers today and in the future.
A fundamental part of our plan is our diverse energy mix. Solar, wind and energy storage are each an essential part of a cleaner energy future, but we also continue to rely on nuclear power, natural gas, oil, coal and hydro generation. This diverse mix provides the flexibility and adaptability to quickly dispatch reliable, affordable energy in a variety of challenging circumstances. In addition to energy supply, we can also manage energy demand during extreme events through our voluntary demand response programs and grid optimization measures.
Our system is also interconnected to other utilities in surrounding states. These connection points give us the ability to purchase additional electricity from other utilities outside of the region, if needed.
What you can do during an extreme weather event
In the rare situation where energy demand exceeds supply, the system may be powered down in some areas, causing short, temporary outages known as rolling blackouts. This process would be employed only when necessary to help protect the energy grid from damage and to prevent possible longer, more widespread outages. Both homes and businesses, except hospitals and other critical facilities, could be affected by rolling blackouts if this emergency scenario was to occur.
We all want to avoid rolling blackouts. That's why we work throughout the year to improve our electric grid and to prepare for extreme conditions. You can help by lowering your energy use during times of unusually high demand.
Here are some tips:
- During winter, select the lowest comfortable thermostat setting and bump it down several degrees whenever possible. In summer, select the highest comfortable setting.
- Avoid using large appliances – this means appliances with a three-pronged plug, such as dishwashers, ovens and dryers – during high-demand periods like late summer afternoons or early winter mornings.
- Shift non-essential activities, like laundry, to late evening hours, when power demand is lower.
- If you have an electric water heater, limit the use of hot water as much as possible.
For more energy-saving, bill-lowering tips, check out our Lower-My-Bill toolkit.