When Piedmont Natural Gas Service Tech Rich Rohrer turned on the natural gas at Sabrina Cates’ home on a cold morning recently in Graham, N.C., Cates raised her hands quickly and said, “Hallelujah.”
That’s music to Rohrer’s ears, a 31-year Piedmont veteran.
“The best part of my job is meeting people,” he said, “and helping them. It makes me feel good when I’ve done everything I can to help people, and when I leave I know I’ve provided a safe, reliable product that they can use and not worry about.”
It’s that kind of commitment that helped the company earn the No. 1 spot from J.D. Power in customer satisfaction with residential home natural gas service in the South among large utilities.
“Our technicians are always working hard to keep our customers happy,” said Duke Energy Senior Vice President Sasha Weintraub, president of Piedmont Natural Gas. “The important work we do keeps homes warm and neighborhoods safe, and we appreciate the recognition from our customers and communities.”
As Rohrer packed his truck to leave, Cates said she and her family of eight are thrilled not to have another cold night.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “He made us so happy.”
Turning on natural gas is just one part of Rohrer’s daily routine.
Rohrer said he makes eight to 15 calls a day from the Operations Center in Burlington, about 23 miles east of Greensboro.
After making the day for the Cates family, he provided a work estimate for installing new natural gas service for a home. Rohrer’s other duties include working with contractors building new houses and businesses, hooking up new appliances and repairing cut natural gas lines.
Cut lines are common, he said, adding he averages three to four calls a day for damaged lines. “Remember,” he said, “call 811 before you dig.”
Another important role for him is education.
He often encounters customers using natural gas for the first time. “Some of them don’t even know what natural gas smells like,” he said. It’s common for him to take customers to their meter so they will know if they ever smell it in their home.
Doing that, he said, makes the customer feel safer.
“I always want everybody to feel safe about it,” Rohrer said. “That's the main thing. Safety is the most important part of our customer service efforts.”
He has also honed his people skills over the years.
“We don’t see a lot of upset customers, but when we do, I’m called in to talk to them,” he said. "I’m from this area and I’ve been doing this a long time. I know these people; they’re my neighbors."
Rohrer said it’s nice to be recognized by J.D. Power for what he does. In the end, the award is about people.
“It’s all about the customers,” he said. “We wouldn't be here without them, to be honest with you.
“Customers should know we stand behind our product. We make sure it's safe. We make sure it's a good product. We’re here to help, anytime they need it.”