A Washington State utility company Puget Sound Energy sent a customer a temporary password that happened to include a racial slur. The energy company claimed the oversight was unintentional and was instead a random assortment of letters.
The customer, Erica Conway told KIRO 7 News that she requested a temporary password from the utility company and was taken aback when she received one that read “NiggaHHJ.”
Conway who often volunteers at the NAACP Settle chapter said, “It was like an emotional roller coaster.” Adding, “Shock, disbelief, disgusted, angry. It was just yeah, even now I’m just kind of like I cannot believe this. I just can’t believe it.”
Conway spoke to a customer service agent but quickly realized her complaint wasn’t being taken seriously. She recalled the conversation to the local news station, “I had said ‘Do you guys screen out certain words?’ and Lydia was, like, ‘Yes we do.’ And I said, ‘Well you guys didn’t screen out this word’ And she said, ‘Why would we? and I said, ‘What do you mean why would we? This is an offensive word.’ And she stated to me, ‘No one uses that word anymore.’ And I was, like, ‘where are you living, what planet are you living on?'”
Puget Sound Energy admitted to the error but put the blame on their software. A PSE spokesperson stated, “These passwords are generated automatically so they go straight from the system straight to the customers. So, it’s not able to be accessed by an employee.” The company also issued an apology, “This was offensive, there was no question about that, we apologize to this customer, the community, for what has happened, and we are trying to do what we can to make it right.”
Conway isn’t buying it, however. Both she the local NAACP chapter are requesting a meeting with PSE to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.