This is a letter I sent to the CEO and CFO of Duke Energy Corp.
On the morning of November 15, 2018 I woke at 6:00 am to find the electricity in my house was off. When I called to report the issue I found that the first report of the outage in my area, effecting 1890 customers, was made at 4:30 am. The message went on to say there was no information available, and I would receive text message updates as information became available. The first and only text update I received was nine hours later, at 3:16 pm, ten minutes after my service was restored.
I want to be clear about why I am writing this letter. I am not complaining about the weather. I am not complaining about the fact that occasionally things happen to cause equipment failure and power outages. What I am writing about is the the complete lack of communication and information that was made available during this nine hour outage. As a public utility Duke Energy has a fiduciary responsibility, not only to your shareholders, but to the people and households you provide power to.
Duke Energy already has the infrastructure in place, with the automated phone and text system, to provide it's customers with information during outages. But for some reason you are making a choice to not keep your customers informed. I image the automated phone and text system is an incredibly expensive IT solution. It is unfathomable to me why Duke Energy would choose not to use an expensive system that is already in place. This is like buying a Ferrari and then letting it sit in the garage because you didn't put gas in it.
During my career as a hospitality industry executive, when things went wrong, I found people to be incredibly patient and kind when they were kept informed about what went wrong, what was being done to address the situation, and a time-frame in which they could expect a resolution. The difference between the hospitality industry and Duke Energy is that people had a choice about whether they would spend money at my hotel or in my restaurant. I don't have a choice; if I want electricity in my house I have to use Duke Energy.
Duke Energy showed a complete lack of respect for the customers that contributed to their $6.2 billion in revenue, and $1.1 billion in earnings during the 3rd quarter of 2018. Perhaps you should use some of that $1.1 billion you earned, in a single quarter this year, to hire some customer relations people who will communicate with the people and households who are forced to do business with you.