DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Santee Cooper is predicting record energy usage Friday morning and is asking customers to conserve power so nobody ends up in the dark or the cold.
"Weather like we're expecting tomorrow morning will definitely expose any of the weaknesses that we have in our system," said Rob Ardis, chief operating officer for Pee Dee Electric Cooperative.
The Santee Cooper electric system and its cooperatives are bracing for an energy peak tomorrow of about 6,000 MW which is higher than the usual peak during the summer months, Ardis said.
The Pee Dee is especially prone to winter peaks because the area has more electric heating than gas heating, he said.
"All of the utilities in this area will definitely be pushed to the limit tomorrow morning," Ardis said. "As long as the available generators are there and online and ready to go, I think we'll be fine."
Weekday mornings between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. are the busiest time for power grids.
"It's when the temperature is the coldest, the sun hasn't quite come out yet and everybody's getting up and getting ready for work," Ardis said.
People can conserve power by turing their thermostats to 68 degrees or lower, using less hot water and not using heavy-duty appliances like dishwashers and clothes dryers.
"Anything that we sometimes get up and do, try to keep from doing those types of things and just do what you need to do to be able to get ready for school and work in the morning," said Jeff Singletary, of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative.