As a 35-year customer of Duke Energy, I expect to be able to navigate their maze of “customer service” barriers with relative ease. I’ve started, stopped, and transferred service dozens of times with only minor injuries. This week, however, I met my match. I ran into the grotesque monstrosity known as Duke Protection. It is a bureaucracy so impenetrable and imperious, it would stop Indiana Jones dead in his tracks.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of dealing with Duke Protection, you must count yourself lucky. They are the gestapo of the Duke Energy monopoly machine, and they operate without regard to reason.
The story of my frustration is simple one. Through a billing mix-up that is impossible to track down, the electric service to my daughter’s apartment in Chapel Hill was cut off without warning last week. When she called to get service restarted, she was directed to Duke Protection, where Melody, a mindless cog in the monopoly machine, determined that she must show an actual Social Security Card to affirm that she is indeed who she says she is.
If you live in Chapel Hill and don’t have a car, you are shit out of luck in the Social Security Card department. The closest office is in Durham, which may as well be the moon to a person living ten miles away without transportation. Even for those with transportation, the ordeal is arduous. Just the sort of thing Republican's love, as evidenced by their Voter ID fetish.