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Area residents hit with power blackouts

For a few hours on Saturday, Christmas Eve turned a lot chiller for area folks already struggling with single-digit temperatures.

That is because Duke Energy and Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation each had to institute rolling blackouts to combat excessive demand for electricity.

Duke Energy announced the blackouts early Saturday morning, saying the high demand was endangering the statewide electric grid, forcing the firm to institute rolling blackouts throughout much of the state. At the time, Duke officials said most of the blackouts would last between 30 minutes and an hour, although several residents in Surry County reported power outages lasting more than an hour-and-a-half.

Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation purchases much of the power it distributes throughout its coverage region from Duke Energy, thus the local utility company was forced to institute power outages as well. A number of homes and businesses throughout the county were affected at various times, just as residents were struggling with temperatures climbing from overnight lows in single digits. Saturday’s high in Mount Airy was predicted to only reach 25 degrees.

Shortly before noon, the Electric Membership Corporation posted on its Facebook pages its rolling blackouts would end, but asked customers to immediately report any lingering power outages.

Duke Energy officials had not announced the end of its blackouts as of noon. The company was urging its customers to continue voluntarily conserving energy to help the firm reduce or eliminate the need for the blackouts. At various times during Saturday morning, more than 100,000 Duke Energy customers were without electric service at various points.



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