5 On Your Side

Duke Energy Progress acknowledges 'payment posting delay fiasco'

Posted July 14
Updated July 15

— Customers of Duke Energy Progress are fired up about another issue – delays in when payments are posted. It wasn't the customer's fault, yet it triggered late fees.

WRAL’s 5 On Your Side received complaints on the issue after a story a few months ago about Duke Energy Progress suddenly charging higher deposits based on late payments.

The 5 On Your Side team found documented problems with billing delays. Some customers say the delays prompted ongoing, frustrating battles. Duke Energy Progress even called it a "payment posting delay fiasco."

“We knew we had paid it,” said customer Billy McCorquodale. "I noticed that it was lots more than it normally was, and I said, ‘Hey, something is wrong. Something's not jiving here.’”

His bill included a past due amount of $135.60.

“So, we called them,” McCorquodale said. “They come up with the fact, ‘Well, it takes time for a check to go through the bank’ rah rah rah this and that.”

McCorquodale’s canceled check proves it was cashed two days before the bill was due. He faxed a copy to Duke Energy. On his next bill, there was still no credit. McCorquodale was told to pay again, right away, to keep his power on. So, he paid $135.60 twice.

WRAL’s 5 On Your Side also heard from Robert Williamson, who emailed about being charged a late fee. Duke got his check the day it was due, but didn't post it until four days later. He complained to the North Carolina Utilities Commission and got it resolved.

Documents obtained by 5 On Your Side show dozens of similar complaints to the commission. One payment didn't post until 17 days after it was mailed. The business complained to the commission. Duke Energy Progress responded, saying they were "continuing the investigation with mail/posting delays.”

One response referenced the Duke Energy/Progress Energy merger, saying "payments can take up to 10 business days for processing."

With another customer, Duke Energy Progress wrote that “she was affected by our payment posting delay fiasco, but hopefully we've got a handle of that now."

Duke Energy Progress spokesman Jeff Brooks calls the delays "growing pains" of the merger. The company closed its Raleigh payment processing site last summer and sent everything to Charlotte. After complaints about late fees, they improved efficiency and added staff.

"We didn't expect that we would have the issues that we had, and it was unfortunate," he said.

So, why should customers have to contact the Duke Energy Progress about the problem?

“Well, again, I think it's because it's not a blanket issue across all of our customers,” Brooks said. “It's hard to say how many fees were related to this specifically.”

A Chapel Hill customer says she was hit with a late fee even though Duke Energy Progress automatically drafts her payment one day before the due date. The billing cycle varies by the days of the month, and Duke Energy progress recommends all customers allow up to 10 days for processing.

“I'm not saying you have to do that. I'm saying you can pick any time in that window to make the payment,” Brooks said. “The due date is when you receive the bill.”

When asked how many customers were assessed a new security deposit because of the payment delay problem, Brooks said he was not aware that any customers have been assessed.

As for Billy McCorquodale, he says the process has been “very, very frustrating.” He went back and forth with Duke Energy Progress for five months. When 5 On Your Side called, the power company discovered they credited his payment to another account. They fixed it that day.

Duke Energy Progress says something as simple as stapling or taping your payment could delay processing and lead to late fees. The company points to payment options that post the same day.

If you think you were erroneously charged a late fee, you can check past statements online and contact customer service. Like the others, you'll need proof you sent the payment in enough time for it to be processed.

69 Comments

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  • scubagirl2 Jul 18, 3:14 p.m.

    So today I get my DE bill for June-July. In it is a little note that is and FYI for me and it says:
    ".......for bills after July 1, 2014 the UC approved a reduction to all electric rates of 3.22% to remove NC gross receipts taxes."
    That should be good right? It then goes on to say:
    "This reduction is partially offset by an increase in state sales taxes from 3% to 7%...."
    Now,I'm pretty good at math ....that's a 4% increase in tax but a 3.2% reduction in rate....HOW IS THAT PARTIALLY OFFSET?/? I got no break but DE gets more money....gotta love a monopoly that does what the heck it wants, WHENEVER it wants.

  • dollibug Jul 17, 11:00 a.m.

    Wonder just how many people never *catch the mistakes*? Probably hundreds.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 16, 4:13 p.m.

    We really do need another provider so duke would have competition
    Its as bad as the healthcare... View More

    — Posted by woodrowboyd5

    It's a government sanctioned monopoly. There will never be competition by law. Just like you... View More

    — Posted by Save It

    Umm...the example you used? The GM "bailout" was a loan, which was repaid with interest...that saved thousands of jobs, America's biggest automaker and probably our economy. Care to rethink your comment?

    http://wardsauto.com/blog/dear-taxpayer-your-auto-bailout-loan-repaid-interest

  • Desiderata Jul 16, 11:38 a.m.

    Does anyone have good advice on where to go to start your own solar energy supply?

  • krimson Jul 16, 11:34 a.m.

    Gotta pay to clean up the coal ash somehow... Its ain't gonna be free!

  • cybertazet Jul 16, 10:38 a.m.

    These companies have alot of money in the pockets of the Utilities Commission. The Commission is a joke and these companies are NOT scared of the commission because they know that the commission is not looking out for the people in this state. They are being paid a huge amount of our tax dollars to do NOTHING for us but cave to these crooked companies. That merger should never have been allowed. None of the people in this state wanted it and they once again sided against the people paying their salaries. Duke is too big for its britches. They need to go..... Just like Time Warner needs to go. Both of these companies are HORRIBLE. If Roy Cooper would stand up against these companies and actually do his job then he might get more votes in the next election.

  • rachel Jul 16, 10:19 a.m.

    the bottom line for these people is that if they screw up in any way-you, the customer will incur a late fee and then have to prove you don't owe it-why do their errors and shoddy practices always fall to the detriment of the customer, never the detriment of the company? They have their little computers set up in such a way as anything triggers more money for them-nice work if you can get it-NOT

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 16, 9:44 a.m.

    There more going on here than just "merger" issues. This is being used to demand "deposit", like the excuse that the person had bad credit, yet never missed paying an electric bill. Not even after finding out the credit agency had bad information or wrong information, they still refuse to waver the deposit. The one person did it right, ya can't argue with them, they'll tell ya straight up, you want electicity or not? Call the Utilitities Com. is best and maybe they'll do something about this.

  • Common_Sensey Jul 15, 1:37 p.m.

    My question is....WHO pays ANYTHING by check anymore? Paying online used to be great with Progress Energy, but even now with Duke that can take a few days. Duke power....which I had growing up in the Triad as a kid, is just HORRIBLE!

  • NeverSurrender Jul 15, 1:35 p.m.

    "Time Warner, AT&T, Verizon are NOT public utility companies. Water, septic, power."

    AT&T and Verizon (as telephone companies) are regulated by the Utilities Commission though you can certainly argue that the regulation would hardly be described as anything close to "aggressive".

    Time Warner and other cable companies are not regulated by them however they are theoretically regulated by the municipalities/counties through franchise agreements. Again, the quality of regulation can vary wildly though you will generally find cable companies much more responsive before the franchise agreement is renewed rather than after the ink dries! :)

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