Weathering the Storm, Together

Weathering the Storm, Together

Staying connected through the crisis
Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 11:00am

CONTENT: Blog

In unprecedented circumstances, our critical priority is remaining engaged and responsive. During Winter Storm Uri, as both our customers and employees were impacted by the cold, we faced a familiar challenge — caring for our own team so they can continue to serve others when they need us most.

We have stood by our fellow Texans through many challenges, including Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Harvey, and COVID-19. We understand that our customers look to us to provide resources, education, and guidance. They expect us to be there.

Understanding the difficulties many have faced, our teams have worked tirelessly to stay connected and responsive — to educate and provide resources, restructure business plans for indexed customers, pause late fees, offer interest-free extended payment plans, and initiate disconnect moratoriums—to support customers during the crisis.

Specific NRG teams — customer experience, operations, communications, legal, and more — were equally impacted by the storm and share in Texas’ relief and recovery journey, but even in the face of uncertainty they have and continue to care for our customers.

“Customer-focus is embedded in our DNA,” said Kimberly C., Director Customer Experience at NRG. “Being transparent and available will always be our priority. Our team members sprang into action to offer viable solutions for our impacted business customers, while being a resource for our brokers. Our clear, candid approach before, during, and after the storm has been simple: We’re here; we have solutions.”

Our response resonated with those we serve, too.

“I believe in a time of crisis one’s true self, or company truth, will show,” said one customer. “I had the most real-time assurance shown with Reliant. When I logged in their app they were already on top of the situation.”

Plans were set in motion and teams were formed to ensure that we remained available to customers, whether residential, small business, or commercial and industrial. Across our retail brands — including Reliant, Direct Energy, and Cirro — and across departments, employees worked together, around the clock, to prepare customers for the oncoming storm, and, as conditions worsened, to provide additional support.

Communication was also key to our response. Through informative emails, social media posts and banners, digital platforms, websites, and outreach by customer service personnel, our employees worked in spite of storm conditions, and with the help of colleagues from across the country, to reach customers and help them navigate the storm and subsequent recovery. 

Susan H., Senior Manager of Customer Communications, spoke of employee efforts to maintain communication throughout the storm, “We have continually worked to be proactive in our communications. We want to be the resource our customers need, whether that means providing tips about how to recover from cold weather, information around payment assistance and plan options; or educating customers on price protection. Our job is to put customers first, and through this crisis that is what we have strived to do."

“I trust Reliant,” one customer wrote. “I have always had a good experience dealing with your customer service agents. Especially during our latest ice storm.  Reliant sent an email confirming that our electricity prices would stay the same, and that they were not going to gouge their customers. This was very important to me because it showed honesty and character.”

Throughout the weather event, the dedication of our people stood out. Whether providing helpful conservation tips on our social media channels ahead of the storm, or more detailed FAQs on our websites, our employees worked hard to support and meet a variety of customer needs. And they continue to be there to help customers in the aftermath of the storm.

As we take part in the recovery effort, we also remain deeply focused on preparing for the hot summer months to come. We value the role we play in our customers’ lives and, as always, are dedicated to supporting them through the extreme weather to come.   

If you or someone you know has been impacted by Winter Storm Uri, see our residential and small business and commerical and industrial resources for additonal information.