Duke Energy helps customers in Greater Cincinnati area prepare for arctic blast

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  • Company offers tools, information to track daily energy use, lower bills.

CINCINNATI – As an arctic blast of winter weather reaches the tri-state, Duke Energy crews are ready in the event that frigid temperatures impact the company’s energy system.

Duke Energy has a detailed plan to manage the power grid in extreme conditions. Extremely low temperatures put higher stress on the equipment used to generate and deliver electricity to customers.

While Duke Energy currently does not anticipate problems meeting the power needs of its customers, the company is prepared to respond to any system issues, customer outages or equipment problems that might occur.

Below are tips to help customers stay warm.

Winter energy-saving tips

  • Reduce your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specifically designed for use with heat pumps.
  • Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.
  • Have the heating and air conditioning system checked regularly to maintain performance. Duke Energy offers qualified customers rebates to help offset the cost of replacing older HVAC units with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Replace standard incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LED). LEDs are more efficient while giving off the same amount of light.
  • Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
  • Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
  • Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees to help you reduce your monthly water heating bills.
  • Open cabinets, and turn your faucet on to drip to avoid frozen pipes.

Care for others

  • It is always a good idea to be prepared for a power outage. Make plans now to move family members – especially those with special needs – to safe, alternative locations in the event of an extended power outage.
  • Check on elderly neighbors to ensure they are safe and have adequate heat in their homes. The National Institute on Aging offers more information to keep older adults safe during cold weather.
  • Keep pets inside during extremely cold temperatures. Like humans, animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold-weather injuries, or die. The Humane Society offers tips to keep your animals safe this winter.

As temperatures dip, a natural reaction would be to bump up the thermostat in your home to stay comfortable. And even if you don’t, the plummeting temps outside make your heating system work harder to maintain your thermostat setting.

When you get your utility bill a month later, the amount you owe seems much higher than you think it should be. And you ask yourself, “How did this happen?”

“Customers who don’t change the setting on their thermostat may think their energy usage doesn’t change, when in fact, energy use varies depending on a variety of factors, including the temperature outside,” said Barbara Higgins, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief customer officer. “We might not remember those variations in energy use, because we pay for the energy long after we use it.”

Fortunately, Duke Energy provides customers the resources they need to accurately compare energy use from one time period to the next.

“Instead of comparing dollar amounts, it’s more accurate to compare average kilowatt-hour-per-day usage month to month,” said Higgins. “Once you understand how much energy you used, you can then begin to look for some of the reasons your usage increased or decreased.”

For example, many customers are now working from home or have children doing remote learning during the pandemic. Extra energy use can come from more cooking, more laundry, more electronics while working from home. Having family members at home all day can also add to your monthly energy use without realizing it.

One important reason for increased energy use in winter, of course, is cold temperatures. “If you set your thermostat at 70 degrees, and the outdoor temperature is 50 degrees, it doesn’t take much energy to make up that 20-degree difference,” Higgins said. “But if the outdoor temperature falls to 30 degrees, and your thermostat stays at 70 degrees, your heating system has to work longer and harder to make up a 40-degree difference. And that means higher energy bills.”

The number of days in a customer’s billing cycle also varies. This is normal and occurs throughout the year. A particular billing cycle could include several additional days compared to the previous cycle. A longer billing cycle will cause more kilowatt-hours to appear on a bill.

The best way to track and understand your usage in near-real time is to register your Duke Energy account online. Once registered you can access previous bills – up to 24 months – and look at your energy usage by the week, day and hour. Click “Menu,” “My Usage & Savings” and then “Energy Usage.”

Customers can also view usage information from the Duke Energy App, available in the App and Google Play stores.

Finally, consider signing up for high usage and high bill alerts here. You may also want to consider our Budget Billing Program so you can predict your energy costs more accurately; click here for more information.

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 860,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 538,000 customers.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Sally Thelen