Recently Lamar Electric customers have received phone calls from scammers posing as Lamar Electric employees. The scammers have been demanding money and threating to turn electricity off if payment is not made to them. A phone scam is nothing new, but when you receive a call from a company you trust, many will believe what they have to say. These thieves normally target the elderly but have been known to target businesses as well. The caller tells customers their accounts are delinquent and the customers will need to pay immediately or their electricity will be disconnected. The customers are directed to pay over the phone with a credit or debit card. Several members were contacted in the past and we are receiving complaints about this happening to our customers once again. If an authentic employee of Lamar Electric Cooperative calls you on the phone he or she will never ask you for a password, username or Social Security number. If someone calls and claims to work for the cooperative and asks you for this information, you’ll have a pretty good idea that the person is a fraud. Never give out personal or account information over the phone unless you have initiated the call.
We request any member who receives a suspicious call to ask the name of the caller and a phone number to call back, then to hang up and immediately report it to the sheriff’s department. Asking the caller for any information, like a name and phone number, may help authorities locate the source of this scam. Once the sheriff’s department has been notified, notify us of the fraudulent activity so we can stay informed. The only automated system Lamar Electric uses concerning past due bills, utilizes a recorded message and is used as a reminder only. The recording will not ask for a payment and does not have the ability to take payments over the phone. We hope that bringing this scam to the attention of our customers and the community will aide authorities in catching the scammers.
If your electric bill seems higher than it used to be, it’s time to investigate.
First check your history. Verify that the bill truly is higher. You can call Lamar Electric during office hours and ask the Customer Service person to review your bills over the past year. This lady will have your monthly usage for the past several years on her computer screen. If you are looking at a bill for usage during June 2017, you may want to compare it to the exact same time frame in the prior year. Comparing your current monthly usage to the same month for the past few years will often give you a good idea if your current bill is for about the same usage or a lot more. Those of you that are computer savvy may consider going to www.LamarElectric.Coop and click on View My Bill Online. If this is your first time, you will need to enter your account number and set a password. Your usage is displayed for each day by selecting My Usage. The back arrows will allow you to back up to the same billing period last year. Under My Bills,you can even look or print copies of your past electric bills. Our rate has not changed since 2006 so the exact same usage will be billed the exact same amount, except for the monthly Power Cost Recovery Factor. The PCRF changes about every month based on the actual cost of wholesale power purchased for you by Lamar Electric. The PCRF factor is located about 2/3 of the way down on the left side of your bill, just below Billing Date.
Second, check the weather. Fluctuations in outdoor temperatures can lead your family to crank up the air conditioning on especially hot days. Readmore..
More news from the Lamar Electric zoo and things we are doing to keep your lights on.
After this past Sunday’s storm, we started hearing from members living in the far northwest corner of Lamar County near Unity/Georgia communities that their lights keep blinking. The blinks were occurring on days of little wind and no stormy weather. A contractor got the bid to clear this right of way last year but due to lots of rain is behind schedule and has not started this job. Our linemen assumed tree limbs were the problem and spent hours looking for the worst limbs. After several limbs were cut the real issue was located.
Lightning had blown a lightning arrester apart, leaving only the top cap dangling on the jumper wire, near the transformer top. Birds would land on the cap and their added weight pushed the wire and cap down onto the transformer. The bird would fall to the ground, and another would soon take its place. For some reason several birds liked this place to set, till they met their doom. We suspect they may have been attracted by the shiny melted metal where prior contact was made.
You will note the jumper wire we use to connect transformers are covered in heavy rubber to help protect wildlife. The rubber didn’t help the birds in this case because of the exploded lightning arrester.
Wednesday night many people lost power west of Paris in the Toco area around 2 AM. A raccoon had found his way to one of our regulators and shorted a wire out. You’ll see in this picture the wildlife guard is in place on one of the high voltage insulator/connectors but has blown off the other one. These wildlife guards are made of plastic and snap together. These measures are standard for Lamar Electric because of the rural areas we serve. Without this added protection there would be a lot more blinks and outages due to wildlife making their way to the top of transformers.
This is a favorite location for squirrels in autumn.
Please visit our Right of Way Program page to see up to date maps and information.
We are working hard to make sure your lights stay on. Our Right of Way Program helps make that happen. By clearing trees and spraying brush, our members are less likely to have a power outage caused by limbs or trees falling on the line. You may see men working and their vehicles will be marked to clear the right of way on your property. These men will be wearing hard hats and neon vests. As always, if you spot unusual activity call the sheriff.