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Duke Energy’s Rolling Blackouts Take South Carolina Regulators ‘Completely By Surprise’

Half a million without power as winter storm grips the Carolinas …

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Regulators in South Carolina are livid with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy after the company allegedly failed to provide proper warning about mass power outages and “curtailments” associated with a brutal winter storm.

A source close to the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff (SCORS) said the mass outages – and Duke’s actions in response to them – took the agency “completely by surprise” when compared to storm mitigation efforts from other Palmetto State utilities.

Duke gave the state “zero warning” about its plans, sources familiar with the situation told me – describing regulators as being “furious” with the company over the alleged lack of notification.

As of Saturday morning (Christmas Eve), an estimated 500,000 Duke customers in North and South Carolina were without power.

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“As extreme temps drive unusually high energy demand across the Carolinas we have begun short, temporary power outages,” the company noted in a statement on Twitter. “These emergency outages are necessary to protect the energy grid against longer, more widespread outages. We appreciate your patience.”

In a more detailed statement posted on its corporate homepage, Duke urged customers in its two Carolinas-based subsidiaries to “conserve their usage.”

“We’re doing everything possible to keep the power on for as many people as possible as conditions improve,” the company added.

Advocates for renewable energy pummeled Duke – which is excessively reliant on costly, environmentally unfriendly coal to provide power to the grid.


“This is not a once in a lifetime event,” clean energy advocate Daniel Tait tweeted, citing winter storms which hit in 2014, 2018 and 2021. “We’ve had plenty of notice and most utilities did not do much of anything but point and laugh at Texas. Now it’s time to do something damnit.”

Duke controversially jacked rates on its Palmetto State customers back in September – its second major rate hike within the last three years. Those rate hikes came after the company attempted to pass off billions of dollars in costs to South Carolina ratepayers via a failed regulatory coup.

Thankfully, this “taxation without representation” scheme was blocked by S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson – one of the few politicians in South Carolina who doesn’t reflexively do Duke’s bidding.

Duke Energy Carolinas serves an estimated 650,000 customers in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Meanwhile its Duke Energy Progress subsidiary serves an estimated 180,000 customers in the rural, predominantly impoverished Pee Dee region of the state.



While Duke can certainly try and blame the storm for its immediate issues, the longer-term problems facing the company stem from its catastrophic mismanagement of its energy mix.

“Duke has made terrible decisions regarding its energy mix – decisions which are already costing ratepayers billions of dollars,” I noted in a post back in May.

This storm is putting those bad decisions on display at the very worst possible time for consumers …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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5 comments

Bill December 24, 2022 at 12:17 pm

This is what happens when idiots get control of the US Energy supplies. Basically: our nations wealth is energy. Communists and their Useful Democrat Idiots, are doing all they can to destroy our energy wealth. So, they can takeover using as one of Communisms main tools: Chaos, and Violence.

Getting rid of Coal power plants is insane. China is building massive numbers of them. Nukes have so many regulations, you can’t build them. So, Duke has to depend on “Green Energy,” that is only available less than 17% of the time. And, requires not 1 but 2 Natural Gas Generators to take over when Green Energy is not available. One for the power and one for backup.

Natural Gas is not a “Base Load,” efficient power source like Coal, Hydro, etc. It’s inefficient and expensive. It’s very similar to running your house on a Harbor Freight Gas Generator. Costs are about the same. We are lucky the Democrat Communsts havn’t frozen all of the USA like their EU Communist partners are doing in Europe.

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wayne boyce Top fan December 30, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Seems that Southern Company has no problem in building nukes. Two new units at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro coming on line in 2023. BTW,they are exact twins of the two units that SCANA attemped to build in Jenkinsville. Ever wonder why they couldn’t do it. Also,those ate numbers 4 and 5 od the last four SCANA walked off on. Late 70’s they quit on units 2 and 3.

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Eric December 26, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Whoops – the relevant ratio is LACE/LCOE. Regardless, the figures are correct.

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Robert December 26, 2022 at 5:51 pm

There should be an investigation and answers provided for:

1) Did Duke sell excess power during those outages and for what price?
2) What was the spot price for power during those outages and did Duke attempt to purchase power to avoid these outages?
3) How were outage decisions made and were rural customers shed before commercial customers. Many seemed to observe that businesses were not impacted anywhere close to the same degree as rural.

Reply
Heath Hill Top fan December 27, 2022 at 9:39 am

Might want to look in to the man who was dependent on oxygen that died during the time the power was shut off in Anderson. Definitely some liability there

Reply

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