'Shock, disbelief and disgust': Black woman receives n-word as temporary password from her utility company
The password Erica Conway received was 'N-*-*-*-*-H-H-J,' which left her in shock, disbelief, disgust and anger
Eria Conway, an African-American woman from Renton, Washington claims to have received a racial slur, used against the African-American community, as a temporary password from her utility company. Conway told KRON 4 that she believes this was a personal attack against her and that she wants the company, Puget Sound Energy to launch an investigation and get to the bottom of it.
She had reportedly logged on to the company’s website to pay her electricity bill on Monday when she clicked the link “forgot password.” She then received a temporary password, which left her in shock. "I clicked 'forgot password' and got a temporary password from PSE, and it was capital N-A, and I was quite shocked," said Conway.
The password she received was, “N-*-*-*-*-H-H-J.” Speaking about which she said, "Man, it was like an emotional rollercoaster--shock, disbelief, disgusted, angry." Conway further elaborated: "It was just, yeah. Even now, I'm just kind of like, 'I cannot believe this. I just can't believe it.'"
“I was truly in disbelief. Because this is not normal, and this is not what a temporary password is supposed to say,” she said.
Conway also revealed that a PSE customer service agent confirmed to her that the company screens out potential slur words from their temporary passwords. She detailed her conversation with the customer service agent. When she asked, 'Do you guys screen out certain words?” the agent said, “Yes, we do.”
The dissatisfied customer said, “Well, you guys didn't screen out this word,” to which she replied with the question, “Why would we?” Conway reportedly counter-questioned, “What do you mean why would we? This is an offensive word.” And the service agent allegedly stated to Conway that no one uses that word anymore. “And I was like, 'Where are you living? What planet are you living on?’” said the baffled Conway.
PSE has now claimed that the slur in the password is a computer-generated error. "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," a rep of the company, Janet Kim, told KIRO, reported Daily Mail. She further acknowledged that it was offensive to the customer. "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," she said.
Kim has also confirmed that come next month, PSE will start using a new system that will eliminate the requirement for temporary passwords altogether.