Editor’s Note: After multiple attempts over two days to get comment from Duke Energy for the accompanying story “A Question of Power” were rebuffed by the company, and after the paper’s regular editorial deadline has passed, the firm finally responded with the following information.
A Duke Energy spokesperson says the company is in the process of investigating the issue of whether to turn on power to Cathy Smith, but said they will not address her particular issue.
“I’m not at liberty to talk about the specifics of her situation,” said Sharon Hall. “All I can say is we’ll continue to work with this customer and are interested in coming to a resolution. We want to do what we can within the parameters we have.”
Hall said the problem began when the company discovered the previous tenant had allegedly stolen power.
“When we find a meter that’s been reconnected by a customer, we have to investigate to determine who should get that bill,” she said. “We’re sorry for (Smith’s) situation, and our people are working with her, but we have to ensure we’re being fair and abiding by our policies.”
According to Hall, it’s up to Smith to prove she isn’t responsible for the bill.
“Customers who have moved into a place where there has been a theft of power have to document (that they are not responsible for the bill),” she said.
But she said the issue will be addressed in the near future.
“I can’t talk specifically about a customer, but we will be working with her directly,” she said.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.