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.
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 email@example.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!