Failed to connect power, adding damage to my home - Duke Energy

I’m owner of a small residential property management business in North Carolina. The company buys, improves, maintains, and rents nice residential properties. One of my tenants, who is a Duke Energy Employee, rented my property and recently stopped paying rent to me, causing me to discover that he and his family had abandoned my home after the power was disconnected in the summer of 2016. Power was disconnected because of his non-payment of his power bill.

After a month I discovered it, but by that time the interior of the house had rotting food, human waste, maggots, etc, etc,; with no AC. I needed the power restored immediately to clean, decontaminate, and establish waste treatment and well systems at the house – all critical to the clean-up and decontamination of my property.

Over one week has passed since I first contacted Duke Energy Progress. Not one person has contacted me to explain where my request stands, there is no power still, and the home has continued to deteriorate due to the lack of power and my inability to clean it up.

Here is how my communications went.

1. I called Duke’s phone number at 8am on a Monday morning and was put in touch with an Energy Protection group. The first person I spoke with (Steve) outlined the situation and said my tenant had a large debt to Duke Power which is why the power was shut off a month ago. I told him I was stiffed for rent too and that I just discovered the home had no power and that the tenant appeared to have abandoned it right after power disconnection. I advised there was significant rotted food, maggots, human waste, and insects inside the home and that a small animal had gotten access and was eating the waste and deficating in the home. He instructed me to send my deed for the property, because he understandably needed to establish I am an LLC owner. His instructions on how to submit did not work.

2. With worsening contamination I called back to get instructions. Another staff member at the Energy Protection group (Karen) was on the line and she said I must use a fax number so I arranged to do that and the deed went over later Monday morning. Karen said she could not find my company on the NC Secretary of State’s website and said that was a big problem that I needed to resolve. I questioned that and we both began yelling. I asked to speak with head of the Energy Protection group and she said I did not need to do that. After the conversation ended I found my companies name on the Secretary of State web site, as I knew I would, and figured Karen made a typo then made up her mind the problem was mine anyway. This was the most rude person contacted so far. I guess you can treat customers any you want when you are the only power company available to us here in North Carolina.

3. With her questioning the existince of my company I called back and asked to talk with Steve. He was unhappy with me for having asked to speak with him (“let me tell you the ground rules here..”.). I told him Karen was making a mistake and worried about more delays. He logged on to the Secretary of State web site and found my company and told me so. He said that was good enough to establish me and my wife as owners of the company and that the deed would establish the company as the owner of the property (which he had at this point from the fax) my wife sent. That was all we needed. It was still Monday.

4. On Tuesday I received an e-mail from “Manuela” saying Duke is happy to help me and that I need to send an account number, then another asking for the home address. It all seemed disconnected from what Karen and Steve were doing so I asked Manuela to call me and she did right away with an apology. She offered to help. Wednesday, I received another e-mail from Manuela asking for similar stuff as yesterday – like an automatic system getting stuck. I asked her for a contact so I could speak with the head of Energy Protection. I got no response and it was now Thursday night. On Friday I sent her the materials which are now part of this complaint here and demanded they be forwarded to the manager of Energy Protection. She responded at the end of Friday saying they would be forwarded to “the management team” and I would hear back within 24 hours. It has been 72 hours and no word. Considering the health and safety concerns I have documented, the financial losses that are mounting up for me, I had hoped for a more sympathetic response from the power company I have used and been in good standing with for 35 years. These guys need more, not less competition, then they might start to act more like a real business, not a monopoly.

5. Today, after waiting 8 days to hear something other than the rude tongue lashings I have already received from Steve and Karen, I am filing complaints with consumer groups and government watchdog agencies, and may file a complaint with the court to recover losses I’m experiencing due to Dukes negligence. Steve said they have what they need a week ago – but they still do not act.

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