2009-11-06 / Top Stories

LIPA Warns Against Phony Utility Workers

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and National Grid are warning customers to be on alert for phony utility workers trying to gain access into their homes and personal property.

Recently, there have been a couple of burglaries with men posing as workers from various utility companies. Although there have been no reported crimes with false identities involving LIPA or National Grid personnel, LIPA and National Grid want to make their customers aware and stress that they practice the utmost security while allowing service workers onto their property.

"It is very unfortunate that people are carrying out these deplorable scams and taking advantage of our customers," said LIPA President and CEO Kevin S. Law. "We are taking these matters very seriously and urge everyone to be extra cautious about preventing these criminals from entering their homes. If a homeowner has any doubt about the identity of anyone claiming to be a LIPA employee, that person should call a LIPA service representative immediately to verify the employee's identity prior to letting them in the house."

All LIPA/National Grid employees are required to carry a photo LIPA/National Grid identification card. This card should be presented to customers on arrival. In addition, meter readers wear LIPA/National Grid uniforms and are instructed to announce themselves upon accessing the property.

If there is any doubt as to whether an individual is a LIPA/National Grid employee, customers may ask for a number to call for further confirmation of the employees' identification. The employee will provide the customer with either their supervisor's number or call center number. The call center has a copy of the daily meter reading schedule to confirm the inquiry.

The phone numbers to confirm identification are: for electric, call LIPA at 1-800-490-0025, for gas, call National Grid at 1-800-930-5003 in Long Island.

National Grid customers who have chosen to purchase their energy supply at competitive prices from a variety of suppliers known as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) or Marketers may be contacted through door-to-door marketing. ESCO representatives participating in door-to-door sales activities must not claim to represent National Grid or any other utility. National Grid does not conduct sales door-to-door, nor asks for customer account numbers at the home. In addition, ESCO representatives must display proper photo ID with their own company logo visible. Do not provide your utility account number or a copy of your utility bill to an ESCO representative unless you are interested in and ready to receive an offer. For a complete list of ESCOs, visit www.nationalgridus.com.

Precautionary Tips: ·Stop and think: Are you expecting anyone to come to your home? ·Always ask to see the caller's employee identification. ·Before opening the door, use your peephole or intercom to identify visitors. ·If your door has a chain, put it on before answering your door. It will create a barrier between you and the caller. ·Look for a company logo on the person's uniform and vehicle. ·Call the utility company to verify the person's identification. Make sure you have the person wait outside behind a locked door while you do this. A legitimate worker won't mind waiting while you verify their employment information. The utility company will be able to tell you whether the person is an employee and whether they've dispatched a service call to your home or neighborhood. ·If the person is an imposter, call 911 immediately.

For more information on electric meter reading visit the LIPA Web site at http://www.lipower.org/account/ meter.html and for more information on gas meter reading visit National Grid at www.nationalgridus.com and click on customer service.

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