Utility company sends racial slur password to woman

BOTHELL, Washington -- A woman says she forgot the password to her Puget Sound Energy account, so she requested a temporary one, and what she got back was a racial slur, KIRO-TV reports.

Erica Conway believes the insult was deliberate and wants the company to get to the bottom of it.

"I clicked "forgot password" and got a temporary password from PSE and it was capital N-I-*** [edited for sensitivity] and I was quite shocked."

She showed KIRO-TV past temporary passcodes that were just random letters and numbers, so she believes this passcode slur was created deliberately.

"I was truly in disbelief," Conway said. "This is not normal, and this is not what a temporary password is supposed to say."

She explained, "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?"

PSE spokeswoman Janet Kim responded, "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."

PSE insists that the slur was a computer-generated mistake.

PSE says it has taken immediate steps to make sure temporary passwords are a scrambled mix of letters and numbers. And next month it will begin using a new system that gets rid of temporary passwords completely.