EECB Scores Direct Hit On Duke Energy

Josh chopped down Duke Energy‘s thicket of phone trees by launching the mighty Executive Email Carpet Bomb. He had a simple request: turn on the power to his construction site. Calling the main customer support number led to a series of thirty-minute waits while listening to Duke’s cheerful computer voice promise that he would hold “for no longer than one minute.” He also sent six emails to Duke’s customer service inbox, all of which were ignored. Finally, after three weeks without power, Josh tracked down executive contact info for Duke’s executives and fired off an EECB. Five minutes later, his problem was solved.

He writes:

Hey, I had to email this in since I used exactly the kind of knowledge I’ve picked up reading The Consumerist to get through the Duke Energy red tape.

Basically, I’m building a new home and need temporary power service hooked up for construction. The temporary pole is installed, inspected and ready to go. The only problem was getting Duke Energy to come out and hook up the power to it.

Duke Energy has a 1-800 number you can call, but that only leads you into a phone tree of transferring and people that can really only help you pay a bill and things like that. I called the number several times and finally learned the system enough to get transferred to the residential construction department where a computerized voice would cheerfully tell me that my call was important and I should be on hold for no longer than 1 minute. Normally I’d stay on hold about 30 minutes before I would just hang up or get disconnected. One time I was on hold for nearly an hour, but at no point did I ever actually talk to anyone.

I tried a different approach and emailed Duke via the contactus@duke-energy.com email address about 5 or 6 times over 2 weeks. Each time I would get an automated response telling me I would be contact within 48 hours since my email was important to them. I ended up only getting two follow-up emails beyond that though, one directed me to call the 1-800 number and the other gave me a different 1-800 number that was really only a fax machine.

The end result of 3 weeks of calling and emailing about getting this service hook-up was nothing. Being fed-up at having to use generators to work on my house I used the Executive Bomb website (that I found via Consumerist reading) and Googled several Duke Energy executives names to get email addresses so I could fire off a EECB. I was careful to write a rational, short email detailing my problems and literally within 5 minutes of sending the email I received a call from someone at Duke that “handled executive email requests.” Not only was she very apologetic, she already had someone from residential construction on the line ready to get my service request activated. I also ended up receiving the direct line to the residential construction department (1(800)454-3853) where only “people that knew what they were doing” would be answering the phones.

So thanks Consumerist for teaching me what to do!

Learn how to launch your own Executive Email Carpet.
(Photo: Steve Punter)

Comments

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  1. savdavid says:

    Congratulations! It is a shame we have to resort to this because computer answering machines and lazy people make it easy for CSRs to ignore us.

  2. Quilt says:

    It’s sad that in this day and age you might not be able to rely on The Duke. This company has sullied the name.

  3. Russell Miller says:

    “I also ended up receiving the direct line to the residential construction department (1(800)454-3853) where only “people that knew what they were doing” would be answering the phones.”

    This is the telling part to me. They basically just admitted that most of their CSRs don’t know what they’re doing. But I bet they’re cheap.

    • SybilDisobedience says:

      @Russell Miller: Sounds like, other than at the executive level, he never got any CSRs on the line at all. 2 automated email responses and several unanswered phone calls. ANY level of customer service would be better than none at all. Doesn’t sound like they even have it staffed!

      • Russell Miller says:

        @SybilDisobedience:

        He did, but not in the department that could actually help him. They kept transferring him around, and when they finally got him to the department he needed to be at, no one answered.

        Fail on many levels.

  4. Davan says:

    I strongly believe that any company should have a policy that its upper level executives MUST test the phone system for different functions at least once a month. The terrible public image that phone support lines often give off completely ruins what could otherwise be a positive experience for people.

  5. Corporate-Shill says:

    Ah yes THE Power Company.

    Fortunately for me, when I ran into the same problem during the construction of a new commercial building, I was able to contact my State Public Service Commission.

    Ah yes, the ever powerful PSC.

    Wanna see a regulated industry jump through hoops? Contact your PSC. CEO’s have wrath no words can describe after being threatened to loose their exclusive franchise to provide a service from the single person in the world with the authority to actually pull the plug so to speak.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Duke is a nightmare!!!! Every summer, without fail, we lose the power to our neighborhood. No storms, no down power lines…just really poor workmanship apparently. The first time we lost power for 12 hours. We called every hour, and every hour we were told power would be restored within the hour.

    The second time we lost power for 8 hours. The automated line responded that power would be restored within the hour…we had enough and called a person. She had no idea what caused the problem but that it would be fixed within the hour. When pressed on how she came up with that estimate, she got defensive. She assumed it was an “act of nature” I told her the weather was 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Ugh….we really need more competition in this area.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      @ShabariFazoons: Competition probably wouldn’t help, as there is still only going to be one regulated distribution system.

      Sadly, it seems that Coop and Municipal power is the way to go. I live in the Austin Metro, and the City of Austin has very reasonable rates, the scandal plagued Perdaneles Coop has good rates, but I live in a suburb getting its power from the market.

      CoA: rates are broken out into two components, power and fuel. It came out to something like $0.07/kwh for the first 500 kwh, and $0.112/kwh for everything over

      Market: $0.118/kwh, 6 month lock in, Down to $0.108 for a 6 month lock now. This is from the cheapest provider where there is a risk of bandruptcy and getting stuck with provider of last resort rates. Others seem to be 14-17 cents per kwh.

      All of this, and I still have the regulated monopoly responsible for the delivery.

  7. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Hoo-rah!

  8. Thomas Oberhauser says:

    I’m having same problem. I keep getting the run around on when my service will be re-connected. Ive been staying at a red roof inn for a week now, its so hot. Can you tell me the exec email addresses, please?
    Thank you