Duke Energy offers a "Reduced Rate For Social Security Recipients." This is an independent program that Duke provides, in the form of a reduced rate per KW. The requirements are that the head of household receive social security as a primary source of income. This rate was applied to my Duke Energy bills in May of 2011.
In June 2013 a ground-level residence that could better accommodate my needs was finally available for me. While transferring my Duke utility account from one address to another, I specifically asked the representative if my adjusted rate would follow with me and was told that I "worry too much" and "over think" because "you don't lose your social security benefits when you move." I guess this rep wasn't aware that this program was managed exclusively by her employer.
In July, the adjustment was not applied to my account. Because of my conclusion about the last rep I had spoken with, I called and asked, "Is there a discount for people on SSI?" When the representative told me there was no such program, I asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor also denied that such program existed until I told him to look at the account at my previous residence and tell me what that rate is actually called. He stated that, because my account number had changed, I must reapply for the program. I don't like to be sneaky, but I cannot expect someone who doesn't know that a program exists to help me with inquiries about that program. When I told him a former rep had assured me that the program would follow, he stated that he would review the call if I knew the date that I called. I certainly did know the date of the account notes that he was staring at because the date of the call was in my personal calendar as well as my checkbook. He said he would review the audio, but I never heard anymore of that. A request form was emailed to me twice. Both emails contained an attachment of the email stating I was receiving a form from Duke energy. The form was then sent to me by postal mail. By the second week of July, I received the letter by postal mail, which was an index card requesting my name, address of residence, Social security number, and account number. I filled it out and placed it in the mailbox same-day to go out the next day.
In August, my bill still did not show any adjustments. I called again, spoke to another representative that didn't know about the program, and by the time I reached a supervisor they had already read the notes on my account regarding my requests. I was told that it takes 6 weeks to have the reduced rate applied to my account. I requested to speak with a representative of the department that dealt with such requests and was told that the corporate office would call me back and that I could not contact them directly. The rep said it should take 3-5 business days for someone to call me back depending on how many total call-back requests they've received. I asked if my account could be credited for the time I did not receive the adjusted rate and was told that all bills that are issued and paid are not subject to credit, which I believe is a blatant lie. I still have never received a call-back from Duke Energy.
It is now September and my bill has not been adjusted. I called Duke Energy again and explained my ongoing issue with my request to receive the reduced rate. The rep told me that my form must have been lost in the mail. Again, I asked if there was any way to speak with someone of authority over the matter and if I could fax or email the form since it has been delayed for so long. No and no. I was not even offered another call-back request to humor me this time. The rep did however suggest I send my letter certified this time around.
I called the social security administration as well as my local human services department regarding the run-around Ive been receiving from Duke Energy and both suggested I call an attorney. Instead, I filed a complaint with the BBB of Charlotte Nc. The BBB told me that I should send the form out again, as Duke Energy instructed. Because the request form is not able to be sent as an attachment, I must request it again and wait for it to come to me by mail. The BBB said that they will review my claim, send Duke Energy a request to come to a mediation with me. To mediate my claim, I have requested that the rate be applied to my future bills as long as the program exists and I qualify for it and I would like the bills that were not adjusted between June and September to have the adjusted rate applied to me in the form of a credit. We'll see how that goes. So now I must request a new form by mail. Then (I am no longer able to drive for myself) I must find a way to stop by the post office to certify my letter. Finally, after a few more unadjusted billing cycles, maybe the BBB will help me come to a resolution with Duke Energy.
I would be interested in speaking with an attorney regarding this matter because I don't know my rights to this program. I'm not sure if it is at the discretion of Duke Energy or...To be blunt, Im not sure if Duke is getting a cutback or benefit for claiming to provide a service that they refuse to provide their qualifying customers with. I have seen other claims of "Duke Energy Corporation claims to never receive SSI-Rate Form for almost 2 year now Charlotte, North Carolina" on the ripoffreport website, so I know I am not alone here. I will be sure to return and report if any methods prove to be successful regarding this report.