Guilford County residents learned over Christmas weekend 2022 that it doesn’t take ice or snow falling from the sky to completely disrupt everything – extreme cold mixed with gale-force winds is enough to wreak havoc on a community.

The wind storm may not have made the roads slippery – but it did knock out cablevision, internet, water, power and other services to large segments of the community.

On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas night, when many people were opening gifts with their families, City of Greensboro workers were answering call after call of broken water pipes in cases where the water needed to be shut off in the street.  For some residents who called the city for help, city workers couldn’t even offer an estimated time of response.

Spectrum’s services went out for many customers just as they were planning to gather around the television and watch “A Wonderful Life” or other Christmas classics, and, at 8:09 pm. Christmas Eve, Duke Energy sent out a plea for help to its customers – whose heating systems were taxing the local power plants.

“Alert!” the text read.  “The extremely low temperatures and high energy demand continue to place an unusual strain on the energy grid. Please consider powering down all nonessential electric devices and delaying unnecessary energy use for the next 24-48 hours to help avoid rotating outages in the early morning hours tomorrow and Monday.”

Duke Energy officials indicated that they knew this was a very hard ask: “We understand this is a difficult ask given both the holidays and the cold temps and we are grateful for your efforts … Thank you for your cooperation. “

After the 2022 Christmas crisis had passed, Duke Energy thanked its customers

“Whether you lost power – or conserved power – we are grateful to you,” a press release stated.

The release added that, for many people in North Carolina and South Carolina, this holiday season has been “uniquely difficult” due to intense winds that took out power to many homes combined with the record cold that then set in, “driving up energy demand and further taxing the grid.”

Once the crisis was over, Duke Energy sent out a press release thanking those who had helped out.

“We are grateful to all of you for your patience and understanding,” stated the release targeted at the residents of Guilford County and the Carolinas as a whole. “First to all who lost power from that initial storm and had to wait in the bitter cold. Second, to those who lost power during the emergency outages that followed and had to wait – sometimes longer than anticipated – for power to be restored. And finally, to all who generously delayed extra energy use during this critical period to help keep the lights on for others.”

The company’s release went on to state that requests of this nature were very rare – and are something Duke Energy always seeks to avoid.

Unfortunately, in this case, “temporary outages were necessary to protect the grid from more extensive damage, which would have meant lengthier repairs and longer, more widespread power outages.”