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03/21/2023

AVANGRID Warns Customers Of Ongoing Utility Scams

AVANGRID Warns Customers Of Ongoing Utility Scams

Company receiving increased reports of ongoing scams across its electric and natural gas companies, urges vigilance 

ORANGE, Conn. — March 20, 2023 — AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a leading sustainable energy company and member of the Iberdrola Group, are urging customers of its electric and natural gas companies to be vigilant of scammers posing as company representatives. The company has recently received reports of customers having accepted calls from people who claim to be employees or consultants of its subsidiaries. Customers are urged to never give out personal or account information to unsolicited callers.

“Scammers are a perpetual threat to our customers, and we urge everyone to be vigilant to protect themselves and their families,” said Pedro Azagra, CEO of AVANGRID. “We’ve noticed a recent uptick in the number of utility scams attempting to defraud our customers. I urge anyone who has a question about the authenticity of a caller or any other communication claiming to be from our company to immediately contact us. Our customer service team is always one call away and we are here to help.”

AVANGRID has recorded new reports of utility scams across its subsidiaries, which include Berkshire Gas, Central Maine Power, Connecticut Natural Gas, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, Southern Connecticut Gas, and United Illuminating Company. 

Customers should be aware of some of the known scammer tactics:

  • Fraudulent phone numbers: Caller ID may show the call is coming from the utility. In some cases, the perpetrators seem to have specific knowledge about the customers they’re calling, and may even provide a callback number with a recorded greeting similar to the energy company’s customer service line.
  • Fraudulent emails and texts: Scammers are using digital correspondence to portray themselves as the utility.
  • Door-to-door imposters: Scammers are claiming they are responding to reports that scammers are in the neighborhood.

Types of scams that customers should look out for include:

  • Disconnection threat: Someone posing as a utility representative aggressively tells the customer their account is past due and a crew is on the way to shut off service unless an immediate payment is made—typically using a prepaid debit card or another non-refundable form of payment.
  • Meter payment: The caller or in-person scammer instructs the customer to pay with cash or a prepaid debit card to cover the costs of a new meter or meter upgrade.
  • Information request: The caller insists that a recent payment encountered a system glitch and was not completed, or that the company had not received the payment at all. The perpetrator then asks the customer to make a false payment using a prepaid debit card or by providing personal account information.

Safety tips for customers:

  • Know the available payment methods: AVANGRID companies will never demand customers to purchase debit cards such as Green Dot cards to make payments. All AVANGRID companies accept a variety of payment methods and Customer Care representatives will work with individual customers to help them pay down outstanding balances and maintain service. 
  • Ask for account information: If unsure of the identity of the caller, ask for the last five digits of the account. If they do not have this information, hang up and alert local authorities. Never give out personal or account information to a caller.
  • Check ID: AVANGRID employees and contractors carry company-issued photo ID with a unique employee number. Ask for ID before providing personal or account information or granting access to your property. If you are not certain, call to confirm using the number on your bill or the company’s website.
  • Be on alert for unexpected emails: Be suspicious of unexpected emails from AVANGRID companies, especially if you’re not an eBill customer, and think twice before clicking links. If you’re not certain, you can make credit card payments, check balances and find other information directly the company’s website.
  • Enroll in AutoPay: The amount due is automatically deducted from a bank account each month, so customers will have no concerns about an outstanding balance. More information on this payment option is available on the company’s website. If making a payment by phone, always use the companies’ automated services phone numbers. 

Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should notify their utility, local law enforcement authorities, and the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/). This will help authorities shut down scams and prosecute the scammers.
 

About Avangrid

About Avangrid: Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $44 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs approximately 8,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2024, Avangrid ranked first among utilities and 12 overall. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2024 for the sixth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.

 

About Iberdrola: Iberdrola is one of the world's biggest energy companies and a leader in renewables, spearheading the energy transition to a low carbon economy. The group supplies energy to almost 100 million people in dozens of countries. With a focus on renewable energy, smart networks and smart solutions for customers, Iberdrola’s main markets include Europe (Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Greece), the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. The company is also present in growth markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Ireland, Sweden and Poland, among others.

With a workforce of nearly 40,000 and assets in excess of €141.7 billion, across the world, Iberdrola helps to support 400,000 jobs across its supply chain, with annual procurement of €12.2 billion. A benchmark in the fight against climate change, Iberdrola has invested more than €130 billion over the past two decades to help build a sustainable energy model, based on sound environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.

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