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Washington Utility Sends Racial Slur to Woman as Password

Black woman, washington utility company, N-word
Screenshot of Erica Conway talking to KIRO 7 news.

Washington state utility company Puget Sound Energy apologized to Erica Conway of Renton for sending her a racial slur as a temporary password so she could access her account. Conway, who is Black, complained after she was sent the word n***a.

According to news reports about the incident, Conway contacted the company’s call center but was ignored. She detailed the conversation to the media:

“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?”

Conway believed the password was sent to her on purpose, though the company says it was not. The local NAACP chapter, which Conway is a member of, wants to meet with Puget Sound Energy to discuss the incident and how to prevent its reoccurrence.

Puget Sound Energy is a private utility company that services the Northwest U.S. It recently partnered with the city of Bellingham to add solar panels at its dock. A spokesperson for the company told the media that passwords would be screened more carefully and the employee who Conway felt ignored her concerns would undergo training.

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