Normally, I do not take the time to complain or share my experiences with companies. In the past, I have felt like all companies have good and bad employees and have understood and accepted the underlying company policy. Progress Energy is different, so I am taking the time to share my experience because I know there are more consumers out there like me whose electricity is about to be disconnected.
I have been a customer of Progress Energy for many years. I have never made a late payment or called to make payment arrangements before today. I recently was forced to close a retail business because of an industry slump so I am in between jobs for the moment. I have already secured a new position, however I do not start work for a couple of weeks.
I called Progress Energy to make a payment arrangement and was denied. The denial, I was told, was based on my deposit, account history, and bill due date. Here are the facts:
The deposit on my account is more than the payment due.
I have never had a late payment after many years as a customer. My bill due date was a less than a week ago.
So of course, with that information in mind, I asked to speak to a Supervisor who could review my account and make a concession.I was transferred to another "customer service rep" (and I use that term loosely) that said nothing could be done, I was denied a payment arrangement. I again asked to speak to someone who had the authority to review my account and change that decision. Again she told me there was no one else, then told me she would have someone else call me back. I have not heard back yet.
I did a quick search online and this is what I found:
Rates drastically increased in FL and NC in the beginning of 2009. People have been calling to complain that their "meters are broken." That is what I thought. I have come to realize the meter is not broken. New rates are that high.
I have found complaints similar to mine where people with otherwise good account standing were denied payment arrangements and were told to "conserve energy" and asked to make appointments to check the energy efficiency of their homes. Progress Energy has the highest disconnect/reconnection ratio for a power company ever.
My thoughts are as follow:
Progress Energy knows there is a nation wide financial crisis and they are using it to their advantage to generate additional income off people's suffering. If they refuse a customer a payment arrangement, then they can disconnect the electricity and charge additional fees for late payments and reconnection.
If someone does not agree ask yourself this: why the ridiculous rate hikes at a time when its customers can least handle it? Why not make payment arrangements to guarantee uninterrupted power and payment for Progress Energy?
In my personal situation, my electric bill increased by $100. I am a single mom who works outside of the home. I rarely run the air or heat. I have double paned windows and the home is properly sealed and insulated. All of the appliances are energy efficient and the light bulbs are as well.
I am going to type up my experience with the customer service department at Progress Energy and send a written account to Corporate Headquarters, Public Services Commission, local media, and blogs.
I urge other folks that have similar experiences to do the same. I have never taken the time to speak out against anything before but I feel this company needs to feel public pressure to stop its anti-consumer tactics.