Confusion sparked like a flickering power pole light after Duke Energy urged customers to conserve electricity earlier this month due to cold weather. Many, still scarred by 2022’s Christmas Eve’s outages, feared rolling blackouts were brewing again.
The alarm bells rang through emails and texts urging reduced energy use between 6 and 9 a.m. Memories of over 500,000 homes plunged into darkness over the holidays sent chills down spines, not just from the frigid temperatures.
Duke Energy quickly scrambled to clear up confusion. Spokesperson Jeff Brooks assured everyone that the message was simply a heads-up about increased demand, not a blackout warning. While peak usage during these cold hours is real, the grid’s stability wasn’t in question.
“We apologize for any confusion,” Brooks acknowledged in a statement. “Our aim was to inform customers about the expected surge, and encourage mindful energy use during peak times. Your efforts are appreciated, but reliability concerns are unfounded for tomorrow.”
The incident highlights the delicate balance between transparency and panic in such situations. While informing customers of energy needs is crucial, clear and concise communication is paramount to avoid unnecessary anxiety.
Duke Energy vows to learn from this, promising to “evaluate the wording used to improve any future cold-weather energy saving communications.”