Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Florida Agency Orders Utility Company to Change Customer Script

August 26, 2011

Utility companies are seldom known for their stellar customer service – being a natural monopoly with little to no competition has a way of making a company rather complacent with its customers – but one company took annoying their customers to such lengths a state agency had to step in and reprimand it.

Up until recently, customers calling Florida Light & Power were told, at the end of their call, to “hold for a confirmation number.”

What actually happened at this time is that customers were transferred to a partner company called FPL Energy Services, which then tried to sell utility callers for-profit services such as surge protection and appliance insurance.

This didn't sit well with a lot of the utility's customers, who for some shocking reason seemed to think they were entitled to call their utility without being subject to coercive marketing and having more cash squeezed out of them.

Florida's Public Service Commission finally had to step in, ordering Florida Power & Light to change its customer service script. The new script will give customers a choice whether to be transferred and lets them know the affiliated company is unregulated, reported BusinessWeek.

The utility company got a second slap from the commission this week when it determined that there's no need for FPL, a unit of NextEra Energy, to charge customers for future nuclear decommissioning. The company plans to decommission four nuclear reactors between 2032 and 2036 at a cost of $7.8 million, and it was hoping customers would foot the bill. The Public Service Commission determined that FPL doesn't need additional money from consumers.

Florida Light and Power serves an estimated 4.5 million customers in south and east parts of Florida.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell