GREENSBORO, NC -- A loose light switch -- exactly the kind of problem David Taylor didn't want to fix himself. So he signed up for Duke Energy's Home Wiring Repair Plan. It costs just $4.95 a month. In the last 13 years, he's paid $535 dollars.
But when David called Duke Energy to come out and fix this switch and replace these outlets, they said no. The reason? His house has two prong outlets.The repair plan's terms and conditions don't mention that exclusion by name and David says Duke Energy wouldn't give him answers. David says, "They pretty much got me off the phone as fast as possible saying you're not covered, that we can't give you a refund. We can't do anything for you."
Call for Action went to Duke Energy for an explanation. The company says David is not covered under condition number 7 - specifically "circuits not complying with the applicable electric code." The translation -- the repair plan doesn't cover two prong outlets. David says, "It's not spelled out correctly."
We asked Duke why it just doesn't clearly spell out -- no two prong outlets. It said electrical codes change so often it's just too difficult to put specifics like that in the terms and conditions. But it does have a long list of items of specifics items that aren't covered --- overloaded circuits, lighting and appliances. Here's the full terms and conditions.
Something else Duke doesn't spell out clearly - it guarantees a full refund if you're not covered - although David says no one offered to give him back his money. After we called, Duke now says it'll send David all of his $535 back.
So what does this mean for you? The electric code started requiring three prong, grounded plugs in new homes in 1962. So if you live in a home built before 1962 and it does not have three prong outlets, you are not covered by Duke's Home Wiring Repair Plan.
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