Staying warm during the freeze may mean lowering the temperature in your home

Freezing weather is being blamed for some power outages across North Carolina, and it’s prompting a reminder: Conservation is a necessary evil in the cold.

Extremely heavy demand on a power system can damage equipment or overload a circuit, Duke Energy says. The company wants customers to turn off lights and unplug appliances.

South River Electric Membership Corporation reported a peak demand on its system Tuesday morning. The Touchstone Energy cooperative – which serves about 43,000 customers in Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Johnston and Bladen counties – has asked customers to lower their thermostats to 68 degrees.

“If power is lost, it is harder to bring it back on line during times of extreme high demand,” the co-op tweeted.

Duke Energy reported more than 9,000 customers without power in North Carolina as of 9 a.m. Tuesday – the most being in Mecklenburg, Iredell and Randolph counties. The number was reduced to about 6,700 by 10 a.m.

Central Electric Membership Corporation, serving more than 22,000 homes and businesses in Chatham, Harnett, Lee, Moore and Randolph counties, reported more than 2,300 outages as of about 10 a.m. – including more than 2,100 in Lee County.