WRAL TV

Before the story airs: Duke Energy Progress customers blind-sided?

Posted February 18, 2014

You get your utility bill and it's hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than usual. What do you do? Call the company and ask them why, right?

After nearly two dozen Duke Energy Progress customers e-mailed us with complaints – we had to investigate!

The customers were suddenly blind-sided by hefty deposits added to their monthly bill. No phone call, no warning, just huge bills. It’s happening to long time customers who SAY they pay their bills on time.

Customers who complained to 5 On Your Side call the added fees "unfair" and even "corporate bullying."

I took the complaints straight to Duke Energy Progress for answers. Our investigation uncovers why Duke Energy Progress is adding the deposits – and the three triggers that could ZAP YOU with a shockingly EXPENSIVE power bill!

Join me on WRAL-TV Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for the rest of the story.

38 Comments

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  • Emma Handy Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    After a social service agency kindly paid my $290.49 bill so that my bill was zero, Duke Energy Progress took 2 separate payments out of my checking account for $290.49! I had a credit balance. Once Duke Energy has your banking account number or cc number, they can take money out whenever they want to do so.

  • freeindede Feb 20, 2014

    This happened to me--last fall--and as far as I know I am NOT a Progress customer.

  • nethacox Feb 19, 2014

    I live alone and the heat is on 65-68 during the day and rarely over 70 after i get home and I seldom watch tv not much as far as power usage and my bill is always over $200 when i emailed them to ask why I got no reply. I don't understand.

  • tanntamount Feb 19, 2014

    It's amazing how so many people are just now beginning to notice the "shanigans" of Duke Energy. They are a company with a history of "poor customer service", and "low employee morale". This merger should have Never taken place, but the Utilities Commission dropped the "ball", and allowed this fiasco to occur. This company is a shame and disgrace to hard working North Carolinians who have to use their services. I wish all this concern had taken place during the throes of this merger. But unfortunately the citizens of this State, the employees of Progress Energy, and the spineless Utilities Commission were all taken in by this "greedy" company !!!

  • Brian Tucker Feb 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Guess it's time we all got solar. I had 2 estimates for solar last fall, prices are about $15,000. and then some, depending on which system you go with. Worth checking it out. May be an up cost now, but long run, would pay for it self, plus you'd have electric and not depend on Duke. I have to wait a few yrs til I can afford to get it.

  • Albert Holmes Feb 19, 2014
    user avatar

    I knew when Duke merged with Progress Energy this was a big mistake. They are not doing anything but taking advantage of its customers. Now it is time for the Utilities Commission and the Attorney Generals Office to step in and do something. In my opinion this is just a case of leagalized lone sharking !

  • laurabrewer0 Feb 19, 2014

    I knew it! I knew something was wrong with this picture. I received a bill for $632. I contacted Duke Energy to determine "what" in the world has just happened here. I was informed by a customer service rep. that due to a recent late payment, ONLY BECAUSE I am currently unemployed and a single mother. Duke informed me that EVEN THOUGH THE PAST DUE WAS PAID. a deposit of $350 was re-instated to secure my account with the new charge of usage. When I tried to resolve the issue, by installments; DUKE would not hear of it until the $350 was paid in full. By this time I had a cut-off notice, after several contacts with DUKE. I nicely contacted the NC Utilities Commission and they contacted DUKE and waived the $350 deposit. I am very disappointed with DUKE. I have never been late on my account with a PERFECT Payment record. My usage does not even compare to previous records with Progress Energy. My hands are tied behind my back and FORCED TO PAY OR NO POWER!

  • a-moment-of-truth Feb 19, 2014

    I JUST in Jan sent the worse email in LIFE to the NC Utilities Commission. I told them I blame THEM for ALLOWING this foolery. There is a WHOLE blog dedicated to complaint after complaint from customers. I sat down one night and read the WHOLE THING. Recent complaints since the merger. There is not even anybody AT MY HOUSE until 7 p.m. nightly. We are all IN BED no later than 11 p.m. With hours like THAT...I cook alot of meals in a CROCKPOT hence my stove is not even on. My apartment is 770 sq feet. But my bill is $250 US American dollars? MONTH AFTER MONTH?

  • mariaboo Feb 19, 2014

    We received our unusually high electric bill with this note on the bill: IMPORTANT: Our records indicate your Duke payment history for electric service is unsatisfactory. We are permitted to require a deposit to secure your account. A review of your billing record indicates that you account is not adequately secured. Therefore, your account has been billed a deposit. After calling Duke, they said "pay it or we will have to cut off your electricity". They did say I could pay it in 3 installments. Geez - thanks. If I don't pay it, I will lose electric service after 30 years!

  • mariaboo Feb 19, 2014

    We received our January bill with a $454.00 deposit added onto our already higher than usual January bill. Duke energy stated on our bill: "IMPORTANT, our records indicate your Duke Energy payment history for electric service is unsatisfactory. Because electric service is billed after it is used, in certain situations, we are permitted to require a deposit to secure your account. A review of your billing record indicates that your account is not adequately secured." So now I have a $603.00 electric bill for January, because of this ridiculous security deposit. I called and told them that I barely could afford my regular electric bill and now I have to pay this deposit? There answer was "pay it or we will have to cut off your electricity". They said I could pay in 3 installments. So I have no choice, pay it or have them cut my electricity off. WOW!

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