SAN ANTONIO — There are more than a few customers behind on their power bill. CPS Energy says 73,133 residential customers are eligible for disconnects. Many of those customers owe on average $600. Schemers are taking advantage by calling saying they will disconnect your power if you do not pay, but it can look like your power provider is really on the line.
“They spoof our phone number so it looks like it’s coming from CPS Energy,” said DeAnna Hardwick, VP of customer success for CPS Energy.
Hardwick said the power provider is getting calls this is happening in our area. She said no need to worry or to pay.
“At this time we have not identified the timing for when we will resume disconnects,” said Hardwick.
Disconnects are now happening across Texas, but not for CPS Energy customers. The call goes something like this: A customer is told their bill is past due and they need to pay that same day or be disconnected. Hardwick said that is not how CPS Energy does business.
“We give you more time than that. We will never call and demand money,” she said.
What should you do if get this call and worry your power might be cut off at the height of summer heat? Do not hang up. Do this instead:
“Try to get as much information as you can off the call and then either go the legitimate website if your utility company has one or simply call your utility company themselves,” said Michael Skiba, known as Dr. Fraud.
Write down the number they ask you to call to pay and report it to CPS Energy customer service at 210-353-2222.
“There is a whole committee against utility scammers so we can work with them to shut those phone numbers down,” said Hardwick.
Know that CPS Energy will never ask you for payment using store gift cards, a cash transfer app, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.
“If it sounds like it’s different from the way you paid your utility bill before, just hang up, call us,” said Hardwick.
CPS Energy offers these tips to avoid disconnection schemes.
CPS Energy has not set a date to restart disconnects, but it will give customers 30 days’ notice before they begin.
Call CPS Energy customer service if your power bill is overdue. You can be connected with resources including payment plans and assistance programs.