Eversource warns of utility scams during National Consumer Protection Week

BOSTON –National Consumer Protection Week kicks off this week and Eversource is continuing its efforts to remind customers of the deceptive tricks scammers use, and how individuals can guard against falling victim to them.

Whether these scammers are posing as Eversource representatives while using aggressive marketing tactics to sell “discounted power” or threatening to turn off electricity unless an immediate payment is made, the company is warning customers to be cautious.

“Scammers can be relentless and often sound legitimate and convincing, but they’re only successful if they catch our customers off-guard and coerce them into making a payment,” said Penni Conner, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Eversource.

“If anyone suspects someone is impersonating an Eversource representative, whether on the phone or in-person, they should contact us immediately and report it to local police. We always remind our customers that the key to stopping these scammers in their tracks is don’t panic and don’t pay.”

Eversource is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams collaborative consisting of more than 90 gas and electric utility companies across the U. S. and Canada. Members of Utilities United Against Scams work across the utility industry and with regulators, law enforcement and other partners to help stop scams targeting utility customers.

Eversource customers continue to receive calls from individuals claiming to be affiliated with the company, threatening to shut off their power unless immediate payment is made by a prepaid debit card.

Eversource rarely makes unsolicited phone calls and would never solicit door-to-door on behalf of a competitive supplier. Some exceptions include accessing utility equipment to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the distribution system, or if there is a reported safety concern.

Customers are urged to always decline any door-to-door offers or requests to discuss energy rates from someone claiming to be an Eversource employee.

Though electricity customers in Massachusetts do have the option of choosing a competitive energy supplier, and most competitive suppliers do follow the rules, customers should do their due diligence and check the validity of any company or offer being made.

Eversource urges customers considering a switch to a competitive supplier to evaluate factors such as the length and terms of the contract being offered, cancellation fees, or other related information before providing any financial or account information.
The Mass. Department of Public Utilities licenses competitive suppliers within the commonwealth and maintains a list of current offers available from suppliers.

The company is also reminding customers that Eversource representatives never demand immediate payment over the phone and don’t require the use of prepaid debit cards. Eversource accepts several methods of payment and has multiple convenient payment options for its customers.

Reminders:

· Never provide a copy of your utility bill or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door, or online, particularly if you question their legitimacy.

· Customers can verify they are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for some basic information about their account like the name on the account, the account address, and the exact balance due.

· If you don’t feel comfortable, close the door or hang up the phone.

Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to please contact them directly at 1-800-592-2000 in Eastern Mass. and 1-877-659-6326 in Western Mass. The company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators. Eversource.com provides more information on how to protect personal information and avoid being a victim of utility scams.