By Lonnie Tucker
Special to The SUN
La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is warning its commercial and residential members to not be misled by impersonators claiming their electricity will be disconnected for nonpayment.
The current scam claims Xcel Energy will disconnect power for lack of payment.
“They are back again and now they appear to be confusing LPEA members claiming to be from Xcel Energy,” said Ron Meier, LPEA manager of engineering and member services. “LPEA has no affiliation with Xcel, which is a separate electric company serving various regions. But we understand that threatening our members with electricity disconnection in any way is unsettling.”
Meier noted that LPEA does not make phone calls threatening to immediately disconnect anyone’s electricity for lack of payment, nor demand members get a prepaid credit card to provide funds over the phone. Members should never give personal credit card information over the phone. When an account is past due, LPEA customers receive a series of written notices and are provided adequate time to settle their electric utility bills before any disconnect would take place.
If receiving a questionable phone call, or text message on cellphones, demanding immediate payment, LPEA members are asked to record a call-back number from the presumed scammer, then call LPEA directly to see if an issue truly exists with their account. If a call/text is blatantly fraudulent, LPEA members are advised to call local authorities.
LPEA’s customer service representatives can be reached during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, at 247-5786 for clarification of any billing questions. LPEA members can also review the status of their account at any time online at www.lpea.coop, and click on the SmartHub icon.