Duke Initiates Temporary, Rotating Blackouts

REMC Releases Information on Blackouts

Updated Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Randolph EMC has released the following information regarding rolling blackouts initiated on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022.

Around 5:30 am, REMC crews repaired an outage in the Snow Camp area. High winds from Winter Storm Elliott had caused outages on Friday, December 23. Crews worked quickly, and REMC restored power to all members by 7:22 pm that evening. Overnight, however, a tree fell on the line, cracked an insulator and caught a pole on fire. Crews worked on Saturday morning, December 24, to repair this outage affecting 315 members.

As crews worked in this area, REMC lost transmission to the Snow Camp and Staley areas at 7:56 am. This meant that 5,029 members total were now out of power. REMC contacted Duke Energy to learn more about this transmission failure and was told that Duke had initiated the action to keep the overall grid stable. REMC had no prior notice of this action and immediately began trying to inform affected members as quickly as possible. Duke restored power at 8:12 am. This interruption lasted 16 minutes.

REMC was then asked to support Duke Energy's efforts by initiating temporary, rotating blackouts immediately for circuits in a different location affecting 1,836 members. Duke stated these actions were required to prevent longer lasting, more serious grid failure.

REMC initiated blackouts two times to four requested circuits. The members on these circuits experienced power loss for intervals lasting between minimum of 5 minutes (minimum) and 19 minutes (maximum). These outages began at 8:06 am and lasted through 9:45 am.

  • 274 members experienced a blackout of 15 minutes' duration, followed by an identical blackout one hour later.
  • 495 members experienced a blackout of 15 minutes, followed by a blackout of 5 minutes one hour later.
  • 858 members experienced a blackout of 15 minutes, followed by an identical blackout one hour later.
  • 209 members experienced a blackout of 19 minutes, following by a blackout of 15 minutes one hour later.

Again, REMC began immediately to communicate with these members to let them know of service interruptions. In total, 6,858 members (21% of our membership) were affected by the rolling blackouts.

Randolph EMC strives to provide accurate and timely communication of any event that impacts the power supply for members. For this event, REMC had limited notice. REMC continues to seek answers to the power supply issues that Duke faced on this particular morning. Your electric cooperative will advocate for better and clearer communication among utilities who manage your power supply.

In addition, REMC will continue to invest in work plans that strengthen the overall grid through modernizing substation relays, sectionalization devices, back feeding capabilities and backup battery support, such as our Five Points storage system. The REMC system can handle high-load, peak demand, such as that seen on Christmas weekend. CEO Dale Lambert stated that REMC conscientiously "stays ahead of problems and makes wise investments in the system to address issues before there's a problem."

Randolph EMC values our members and will continue to communicate transparently with them and the public on matters that pertain to grid integrity.

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Members Experience Unplanned Power Interruptions

Updated Saturday, December 24, 2022, 10 pm

On Saturday morning, December 24, between 6 and 10 am, Duke Energy initiated temporary, rotating blackouts across this region of the state. Duke Energy stated that the blackouts were necessary to stabilize the electric grid, under strain from below-freezing temperatures in the wake of Winter Storm Elliott. Duke Energy further stated that the outages would be temporary and short.

Later in the day, Duke communicated that no further blackouts would occur today. The statewide association of North Carolina Electric Cooperatives issued a statement of cooperation with Duke’s efforts to stabilize the grid. They further asked cooperative members to conserve energy to prevent further power supply issues.

With the forecasted extreme cold temperatures, we advise all members to be prepared for possible power interruptions early tomorrow morning, December 25, and the following morning, December 26. It is important to stress that REMC has no definite knowledge that Duke will institute more rotating blackouts. However, REMC encourages members to conserve electricity over the next two mornings and advises members to maintain their emergency kits, report outages to us and stay alert to our updates.

We understand the inconvenience that this emergency action has caused. We will keep you updated with any new information that we receive.

How to Report Outages

Members who experience a power outage should report it by calling 1-877-736-2633 (1-877-REMC-OFF). Members who have enrolled in REMC’s SPOTT (Status of Power Outages Through Texts) Alerts Outage Texting program may also text OUT to this number to report an outage at their location. These members should note that outage status updates will be unavailable during major storm outage restoration efforts.

You can learn more about SPOTT alerts here.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

Your kit should include the following:

  • Battery-powered radio and flashlights with fresh batteries
  • Extra blankets
  • Water for drinking and washing
  • Non-perishable food and a can opener.
  • First aid kit and prescription medicines.

Don't forget to have emergency supplies in your car, also. You can learn more about storm kits in this video or by visiting the North Carolina Cooperative Storm Center.

Practice Generator Safety

Members who purchase generators should consult an electrician before installing. Only use generators away from your home and never run a generator inside the home or garage or connect it to your home’s electrical system. Additionally, those with kerosene heaters should exercise caution since these appliances can create a fire and safety hazard. Check out this video to learn more about generator safety.

Follow REMC's Response

Randolph EMC offers several options for keeping members informed:

  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • View our online outage map
  • Find the latest press releases, alerts and preparedness tips right here on our website.
  • Tune in to local TV and radio stations for the latest updates.