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This Duke Ain’t No John Wayne

September 15, 2017

So here’s the backdrop. We were in Italy for three months when Duke Energy decided to install a “Smart” electrical meter on our house without advising us. Fair enough; that’s the way big monopolies do things in America. We planned on returning home to a nice new meter and hoped for the best.

However, right after the installation we received a string of emails from North Carolina that our garage door was open. Not knowing the cause, we told a neighbor to kill the breaker until we returned to see what the problem was. After arriving home and restoring the garage door power, we were baffled to see our garage door open, close and open again, mainly on Friday and Saturday nights. Hmmm. We checked all of the normal possible problems (cut beams, wires, etc.) to no avail and finally concluded that the only variable was Duke Energy’s new meter.

We waited over the Labor Day weekend, knowing that such important people as public utilities do not work on holidays. After the weekend, we called Duke Energy to see if they could send a tech out to check their new meter installation and verify if the problem was theirs or ours. WTF? They said they would absolutely not send a technician and that we had to hire an independent electrician to check the problem. WTF? I didn’t ask for Duke Energy to install a new meter to begin with and now they had the gall to ask me to pay to see if my problem was their problem. Incredible!

I should mention that we were initially disconnected by a phone room sweetheart named Raquel and then had to make no fewer than 3 transfers to find the supervisor of the other phone room dummies. Doing business with any utility is pure shit. This string of useless phone calls was no exception. At the end of the day (literally), we were told in rude and certain terms that they would do nothing to help us.

So here we were with an overpriced power company telling us to jump in a lake while our garage door continued to open and close. What to do? I tried tweeting Duke directly and received (to their credit) some nominal explanations involving prior complaints from their customers. To be fair, my Twitter exchange did provoke some well thought out comments by one Duke Energy representative. This anonymous person at least tried to provide a rational explanation of our problem but did not go as far as to try to actually solve it. Again, they refused to send a technician out to look at their installation. When you’re dealing with the Utility Lords, you are left to your own devices. I have been trying to solve the problem for weeks and it’s looking like it may not be their new meter after all. But what’s with all the attitude and poor customer service? The arrogance and total lack of customer service that Duke Energy exhibits is completely unacceptable even for a monopoly.

Whether my problem is solved or not, my next stop will be the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission (which always backs-up their cohorts). I’d be interested in learning if Duke Energy does indeed have a responsibility to send a technician out to check their work. Or is it just assumed that nasty monopolies never make mistakes?

At the end of the day, one thing is for sure: This Duke ain’t no John Wayne. Wha-ha! Get a hold of them on Twitter at @DukeEnergy if you have similar problems or complaints. Maybe they’ll be naive enough to follow you like they did with me. One sure bet: You’ll know you’ve been Duked!

  1. KiM permalink

    After this gets looked at I’d be curious to know if it was, in fact, the meter. Just a thought if they’re not sending someone- can you change the frequency on your garage door but those little dip switches just in case it on the same frequency. I’m guessing you’ve been ‘upgraded’ to the new meter they read from the office and not the road. Kinda makes you wonder about all those signals bouncing around in the air – that can’t be good for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wha-ha! We’ve looked into everything and we now suspect a faulty remote. However, that does not excuse the very poor, arrogant response we received from Duke. It’s not like you can go to their competitor because they don’t have any. They didn’t even “listen and listen tight.”


  3. OK, OK, I confess: it’s me who has been opening and closing your garage door. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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