Power to the people 


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May 19, 2005

Re: Your Progress Energy Account(s)

Dear Winter Park customer:

You have received this letter because we have identified you as a Progress Energy customer whose service will be provided by the city of Winter Park effective June 1, 2005.

As you may know, city leaders have decided to create a city-run utility and purchase Progress Energy's infrastructure and assets in Winter Park. In so doing, they have ignored the warnings of our entirely nonpartisan, in-house research team, which found that a buyout would expose you, the customer, to catastrophes of almost Biblical proportions. As you'll recall, the potential threats included massive rolling blackouts; increased susceptibility to the effects of weather-related disasters; broadcast-channel interference that is bound to occur during the season-closing episode of American Idol; and the perpetual risk of at-home electric shock, now that wiring repairs are to be performed by septuagenarian volunteers who can't tell the difference between AC power, DC power and static electricity.

But what's past is past. We're not bitter. And we're not here to bemoan the nearly $50 million your city dished out to buy Progress Energy's system. (That's what Mayor Marchman and his posse told you it cost, anyway. We'd love to let you in on what the real price tag was. Meet us poolside sometime at the Westin Grand Bohemian.) No, what we want to do is prepare you for the looming handoff as best we can - like a loving father who's sending his only daughter off to college, full of hope for her future yet sure she's about to be gang-raped by a fraternity house full of slavering jackals.

Throughout the transition, we can confidently assure you, we will continue to provide the same outstanding service commonly associated with the name "Progress Energy." We will continue to respond to any power outages at your home or business through May 31. Call (800) 228-8485. Complaints will be fielded between the hours of 11 a.m. and noon on weekdays, and between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The phone system will be dark on Sundays. (It's the Lord's day, after all.)

Should you find that you have been overcharged for monthly service by a margin of 50 to 700 percent - which we certainly do not expect, but Hey! stranger things have been known to happen - we will be happy to reimburse you the full amount of the overage. Just give the operator your name, account number, Social Security number, address, bank PIN number, SAT scores, the "disable" code to your home alarm system and the hours during which you are traditionally at work or off visiting relatives. Payment should be on its way to you within six weeks to a year.

Between now and June 1, you may see Progress Energy crews and contractors working around the city on various projects. Please do not be alarmed if these projects involve the taking of jackhammers to defenseless outdoor gazebos, or if they resemble looting. Workers are merely separating our state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure from that Radio Shack science project your city intends to pass off as a utility system. To get the job done, it may be necessary for our representatives to smash the front window of Williams-Sonoma and pump in 16,000 gallons of water through an industrial-strength tube. Do not be concerned. This is merely routine repair of the company's dried-out equipment, and does not in any way represent sour grapes or impulsive vandalism on our part. Nor is it a class-A felony.

In some neighborhoods, it may be necessary for crews to check transformer performance in ways that may interfere with residential service. You may notice workers atop electrical poles busily detaching and reattaching AC connectors, causing your power to wink in and out, especially when you're trying to use the microwave. Do not misconstrue the gleam in these workers' eyes as a sign of sadistic glee, because it is not. It's important work. So suck it up and break open that can of Dinty Moore you have left over from Frances. Similarly, some customers may be surprised to see Progress Energy field employees barging in on them when they are trying to take a bath, and may even become slightly alarmed when one of said workers tosses a raging hairdryer into the tub with them. This, again, is an essential operations check, necessary to determine if older appliances will continue to function after Marchman and his infernal cabal complete your city's transition to its new, lamp-oil-based system. Better safe than sorry.

Finally, do not be perturbed if you spot Progress Energy crews rounding up random citizens and marching them en masse into Central Park. Think nothing of it if our employees see fit to line up the surprised Winter Parkers in military-prisoner formation, silencing the occasional loose-talker with a .38 slug to the forehead, just like in The Pianist. Our men are merely rehearsing a Civil War re-enactment that is to take the place of Winter Park Heritage Day, one of many cherished traditions your city will no longer be able to afford now that its "leaders" are in the electric business. Consider this start-up theatricale a parting gift from us to you - a token of the many years in which we enjoyed a warm and profitable relationship. And have fun getting those windmills to work.

Sincerely,

 

William "Billy" Haigney
Regional Vice President


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