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'Tis the season: Ontario's largest electricity utilities warn customers of scams
TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2022 /CNW/ - This holiday season, Alectra Utilities, Elexicon Energy, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa and Toronto Hydro are once again joining forces to increase awareness of utility-related scams and how customers can spot them.
The festive season is a prime time for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Scammers are known to target Ontarians by impersonating a local utility or its employees; sending threatening phone calls, texts and emails; or showing up in-person at a customer's home or business to request personal information. These requests may include pressure for immediate payment, threats to disconnect service the same day, and even demands to purchase prepaid debit cards, gift cards or crypto currency, such as bitcoin.
According to the Ontario Energy Board, there has been a 77 per cent increase in reported energy sector scams from 2020 to 2022, including illegitimate phone calls, texts, emails, fake websites, social media, YouTube videos, home visits and ads.
The utilities are encouraging all customers to protect themselves and are providing them with 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
- Don't 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
Scammers also continue to find new and innovative ways to acquire personal information and money from business customers. The five utilities are encouraging business customers to protect themselves with the following tips:
- Educate employees to be cautious of unsolicited calls
- If they didn't initiate the call, they shouldn't provide or confirm any information, including business address, account numbers or office details
- Compile a list of companies your business uses, including utility providers, to help employees know which contacts are legitimate
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 Elexicon Energy
Elexicon Energy powers life's most meaningful moments. As the fourth largest municipally-owned electricity distributor in Ontario, our vision is to empower the communities we serve and help customers seize opportunities to ignite a better future. We provide over 174,000 residential and business customers with reliable and affordable energy services. Elexicon Energy is owned by five municipalities: the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Town of Whitby, the City of Belleville and the Municipality of Clarington. Learn more at elexiconenergy.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Hydro One Limited (TSX: H)
Hydro One Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with approximately 1.5 million valued customers, approximately $30.4 billion in assets as at December 31, 2021, and annual revenues in 2021 of approximately $7.2 billion.
Our team of approximately 9,300 skilled and dedicated employees proudly build and maintain a safe and reliable electricity system which is essential to supporting strong and successful communities. In 2021, Hydro One invested approximately $2.1 billion in its transmission and distribution networks, and supported the economy through buying approximately $1.7 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 Leader™ by Electricity Canada.
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 Limited
Hydro Ottawa Limited, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc., delivers electricity to approximately 353,000 homes and businesses in the City of Ottawa and the Village of Casselman. For more than a century, Hydro Ottawa has supplied its customers with clean, safe and reliable power to help build a vibrant and sustainable national capital region. As a leading partner in a smart energy future, Hydro Ottawa proudly contributes to the well-being of the community it serves through its integration of innovative and sustainable business practices, corporate citizenship initiatives, and offering best-in-class customer service.
About Toronto Hydro
The Corporation is a holding company which wholly owns two subsidiaries:
- Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (THESL) – distributes electricity; and
- Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc. – provides streetlighting and expressway lighting services in the city of Toronto
The principal business of the Corporation and its subsidiaries is the distribution of electricity by THESL, which owns and operates the electricity distribution system for Canada's largest city. Recognized as a Sustainable Electricity Leader™ by Electricity Canada, it has approximately 789,000 customers located in the city of Toronto and distributes approximately 18 per cent of the electricity consumed in Ontario.
SOURCE Toronto Hydro Corporation