News Release
April 05, 1999

IMPORTING GLOBAL LESSONS BACK TO THE CAROLINAS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s no secret that Carolina companies are becoming more global. Just like local residents who are tapping into the worldwide information from their computers at home, local companies are expanding their horizons, too.

But the question my customers at Duke Power ask me, and one I ask of other companies, "Is all this globalization helping me? Do I see any benefit when local companies expand into global markets from Asia to South America?"

The answer is "yes." When local companies export the skills and expertise they have gained from years of operation in the Carolinas, they often import key business lessons back home – helping to improve operations and to benefit customers at the same time. These global experiences can many times help strengthen local relationships.

The lessons of global competition have helped numerous products we use every day – from cars to electronics. And it is helping your electric service as well. Now, maybe no foreign electric company is ringing your doorbell offering service, but by competing in the global marketplace, Duke Power and its parent company Duke Energy are fine-tuning our service to customers. I like to think we are treating our customers like they have a choice of suppliers because somewhere down the road, they probably will.

How are we doing? Well, for the past two years, Duke Power has ranked No. 1 in overall customer satisfaction in a survey done by the University of Michigan for Fortune magazine. Also, while the price of many products has been on the rise, the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity is actually lower than it was back in 1987.

Back in the late 1980s, after a major construction program had ended, Duke Power’s unregulated subsidiaries began to venture outside the Carolinas – opting to use its own employees in other areas when work in the Carolinas was coming to a close. The effort helped local employees use their skills in different areas, but also gave Duke Power the chance to see the workings of the electric business in other parts of the world.

We liked some of what we saw. We took the opportunity to bring back to the Carolinas what we learned overseas. I know this fact firsthand. I led Duke Power’s unregulated businesses for four years and I know what kind of service customers in Asia get from their electric company. I know how efficient power plants in South America need to be to be profitable. I know that our competitors aren’t just neighboring utilities here in the South, but the giant energy concerns of Europe and Asia.

I racked up a lot of air miles in that job, but I also brought home to the Carolinas lessons about what all customers expect and what an electric company must deliver. I take pride in the fact that Duke Power now answers four million customer calls a year, most within 30 seconds or less; that our power plants continue to improve in efficiency while lowering emissions to the environment; that outage times to our customers have been dropping over the past few years; and that the cost

of our product remains on par with levels 10 years ago. Clients and competitors around the world have taken note of our continuous improvement as we move toward setting a global standard of service.

Now, I’m not saying that every improvement made at Duke Power is because of our global work. We’re blessed with one of the finest workforces of any utility in the world. We strive to make sure that we deliver service better than you can get anywhere – from Miami to Milan, from Tallahassee to Tokyo. But, by competing globally, we sharpen our skills. We have industrial customers who receive electric service from companies all over the world. We want to make sure the best service they receive is from us.

I expect you’ll see more and more announcements from local companies concerning deals across the country, and across the globe. At first glance, they may not make much of an impact on you. However, as the head of your electric service provider in the Carolinas, I want to make sure that any edge we gain overseas will be translated into benefits for our long-standing customers right here in the Carolinas.

Companies that lose sight of their roots, that lose sight of serving their customers and their communities, will fail in the end. All of the good employees at Duke Power have a keen focus on what is important here in the Carolinas. And for us, that continues to make a world of difference.

Contact: Guynn Savage
Phone: (704) 382-8350
24 Hour Phone: (704) 382-8333
Email: ghsavage@duke-energy.com