News Release
November 11, 2003

DUKE POWER LAUNCHES OUTAGE REPORTING SYSTEM FOR SPANISH CUSTOMERS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Power customers who speak Spanish can now report power outages automatically by calling toll free 1-866-4-APAGON (1-866-427-2466). The new Spanish-language outage reporting system was designed using input from the company’s Spanish-speaking customers and bilingual employees.

“For nearly a century, we’ve worked to deliver customers excellent service that’s consistent and in line with their expectations,” said Angi Clinton, vice president of Duke Power’s residential and small business division. “We conducted focus groups during the design stages of the system and incorporated much of what our customers said they’d like to see, including a new number 1-866-4-APAGON, which in Spanish means “power blackout,” Clinton said.

Duke Power began seeing increases in its Latino customer base in the late 1990s, and in 1999 began hiring bilingual customer service representatives. Today, Duke Power employs 24 bilingual customer service representatives who handle more than 150,000 customer calls each year.

Spanish-speaking Duke Power customers who need to report a power outage can do so by calling 1-866-4-APAGON, anytime, day or night. Customers can also report power-related emergencies such as lines down and receive electric safety/storm preparedness information. Additionally, a Spanish option has been added to Duke Power’s existing automated outage reporting system (1-800-PowerOn) for customers who are unaware of the new number. All customers should continue to call their local Duke Power office number listed in their telephone directory for routine business.

In addition to its Spanish-language outage reporting system, Duke Power produces customer letters, special mailers, bill inserts, brochures and rate information in Spanish.

“Understanding who to call when the power goes off is important,” Clinton said. “But, equally important is properly preparing for the effects of severe weather and the possibility of an extended power interruption.”

Duke Power offers the following storm preparedness tips:

  • Have flashlights, candles and matches or other sources of light readily available.
  • Make sure flashlights and radio batteries are fresh.
  • Have an adequate supply of medicine, first aid and baby items.
  • Keep a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, batteries and firewood.

If you have an emergency heating source, learn how to use it properly to prevent fire and ensure proper ventilation.

What to do if the power goes off:

  • Stay away from fallen power lines and do not touch or go near trees or limbs that may have come in contact with damaged lines.
  • Report a power outage by calling Duke Power’s toll-free, automated outage reporting system 1-800-PowerOn (English) or 1-866-4-APAGON (Spanish).
  • Listen to local radio stations for status reports from Duke Power about affected areas and restoration activities.
  • Consider moving yourself and your family, especially those with special needs, to an alternate location during an extended outage.
  • Never leave candles unattended and keep them away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Remember to keep children away from open flames.
  • Open freezers and refrigerators only when absolutely necessary.
  • Never use charcoal, propane or any other fuel source for cooking or heating in unventilated areas.

Find more storm preparedness information on Duke Power’s Web site, www.dukepower.com. Once there, click on “weatherwatch” and then select storm central.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Paige Layne
Phone: 704/594-0369
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: pclayne@duke-energy.com