As heating systems work overtime in response to an extended cold snap, Progress Energy Carolinas customers yesterday set a record for energy use in winter.

Between 7 and 8 a.m., as systemwide temperatures dropped to teens and single digits in some areas, customers used 12,504 MWh of electricity. That eclipsed the prior winter record of 12,142 MWh, set on the morning of Feb. 6, 2007.

The all-time hourly energy use record for Progress Energy Carolinas customers was set Aug. 9, 2007, at 12,656 MWh, in triple-digit heat.

"We're working 24 hours a day to ensure that our customers have the power they need through this significant cold weather," said Lloyd Yates, CEO and president of Progress Energy Carolinas, which serves 1.5 million households and businesses in North Carolina and South Carolina. "We do not expect problems in meeting our customers' demand for electricity, but we encourage customers to learn more about how they can use energy wisely and efficiently – not only on frigid mornings but every day."

Progress Energy uses a mix of resources to meet the needs of customers in the region, including nuclear and fossil-fueled power plants, hydroelectric plants, biofuels, solar energy and energy efficiency. Progress Energy has a number of energy-efficiency programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers and demand-side management programs that help reduce electricity demand. The company's Web site provides information on energy-saving opportunities for homeowners.

Household use of electricity, on average, has increased about 50 percent in the last three decades, due to growth in the average size of homes and increased use of electronics in daily life.