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Ontario's four largest electricity utilities unite to warn of scams this holiday season
TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2020 /CNW/ - The busy holiday season is primetime for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims – especially leading into weekends. In response to increased fraudulent activity across Ontario, Alectra Utilities, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa and Toronto Hydro are joining forces to increase awareness about ongoing sophisticated scams targeting utility customers. Residential customers are reminded that disconnection for non-payment has been suspended from November 15 to April 30 for all electricity and gas distributors in the province.
Some common tactics fraudsters use to target Ontarians include the impersonation of the local utility or its employees; sending threatening phone calls, texts, and emails; or showing up in-person at a customer's home or business and requesting personal information. The requests can include pressure for immediate payment, threats to disconnect service the same day, and even demands to purchase prepaid debit cards, gift cards or bitcoin.
The utilities are encouraging customers to protect themselves and remind them of the following tips to stay safe:
- Never make a payment for a charge that isn't listed on your most recent bill
- Ignore text messages or emails with suspicious links promising refunds
- Don't call the number provided to you. Instead, call your utility directly to check the status of your account
- Do not provide any personal information or details about your account
- Utility companies will never threaten immediate disconnection for non-payment
- If you feel threatened in any way, contact your local police
If you believe you may be a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and your local utility. Customers can find more information at:
About Alectra Utilities Corporation
Serving more than one million homes and businesses in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe area, Alectra Utilities is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada, based on the total number of customers served. We contribute to the economic growth and vibrancy of the 17 communities we serve by investing in essential energy infrastructure, delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, and providing innovative energy solutions.
Our mission is to be an energy ally, helping our customers and the communities we serve to discover the possibilities of tomorrow's energy future.
About Hydro One Inc.:
Hydro One Limited (TSX: H)
Hydro One Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with approximately 1.4 million valued customers, approximately $27.1 billion in assets as at December 31, 2019, and annual revenues in 2019 of approximately $6.5 billion. Our team of approximately 8,800 skilled and dedicated employees proudly build and maintain a safe and reliable electricity system which is essential to supporting strong and successful communities. In 2019, Hydro One invested approximately $1.7 billion in its transmission and distribution networks and supported the economy through buying approximately $1.5 billion of goods and services. We are committed to the communities where we live and work through community investment, sustainability and diversity initiatives. We are designated as a Sustainable Electricity Company by the Canadian Electricity Association. Hydro One Limited's common shares are listed on the TSX and certain of Hydro One Inc.'s medium term notes are listed on the NYSE. Additional information can be accessed at www.hydroone.com; www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov.
About Hydro Ottawa
Hydro Ottawa delivers electricity to more than 340,000 homes and businesses in Ottawa and Casselman. For 100 years, Hydro Ottawa has reliably supplied its customers with power, building and investing in the local electric grid. Proudly municipally owned, Hydro Ottawa contributes to the well-being of the community we serve. Its innovative services help customers manage their account and energy use.
About Toronto Hydro
Toronto Hydro owns and operates the electricity distribution system for Canada's largest city. Recognized as a Sustainable Electricity Company™ since 2014, it has approximately 782,000 customers located in the City of Toronto and distributes approximately 18% of the electricity consumed in Ontario.