Displaying items by tag: PG&E

PG&E continues to educate customers on utility scams

San Francisco, CA.Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is standing with fellow electric, natural gas, water utilities and our respective trade associations in support of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS). UUAS is a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. UUAS will observe the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, as part of a weeklong advocacy and awareness campaign, Nov. 13 – 17. UUAS is focused on exposing the tactics scammers use to steal money from utility customers and on educating customers on how to protect themselves.
 
“Awareness and reporting are keys to keeping customers safe from these scammers,” said Deb Affonsa, vice president, Customer Care. “It’s important that if customers get a call, a visit, or an email that just doesn’t seem right – say something by letting PG&E and law enforcement know.”
 
Electric and natural gas customers throughout the country are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day. Scammers typically use phone, in-person, and online tactics to target these customers. Scammers pose as electric, water or natural gas company employees, and they threaten that customers’ services will be disconnected or shut off if they fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable form of payment. 
 
Scammers can be convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer service hours. However, with the right information, customers can learn to detect and report these predatory scams.
 
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment.
Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves: Customers should never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. PG&E does not specify how customers should make a bill payment and offers a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
If a scammer threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service without prior notification, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email, or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill.
If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should then call PG&E at . If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local law enforcement authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s website is also a good source of information about how to protect personal information.
UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.
For more information about scams, visit www.pge.com
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PG&E Begins Daily Aerial Patrols to Spot and Speed Wildfire Response

San Francisco, CA -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has begun daily aerial fire detection patrols across hundreds of miles of its service area. The patrols are to assist the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE and local fire agencies with early fire detection and response this summer. PG&E is launching the patrols this week due to an increase in fire danger from rising temperatures, coupled with the potential for winds. The patrols also will occur in time for the Independence Day holiday with its risk of fires sparked by illegal or misuse of “Safe and Sane” fireworks.

“Even though the drought emergency has been lifted in most California counties, the wet winter resulted in a significant grass crop. That, with 102 million dead trees in our forests, is a potentially dangerous combination. We all must remain vigilant this summer when it comes to wildfire prevention and preparation,” said Kevin Dasso, PG&E vice president of Electric Asset Management.

The patrols will run until October 31, unless conditions allow for an earlier end. Five planes will fly daily routes from late afternoon until dusk, when wildfires are most likely to ignite with hot, dry weather at its peak.

Using fixed-wing aircraft, fire spotters will operate along these routes:

Redding to Auburn in the Northern SierraAuburn to Auberry in the Southern SierraRedding to Humboldt to Lake CountyVacaville to Solvang near the coast Mendocino County

The patrols are coordinated through PG&E’s aerial operations. The Mendocino County route is co-funded by PG&E and run by the Mendocino County Aerial Fire Patrol Co-Operative. The Co-Op patrol will begin July 1 and run through October 15.

In 2016, the third year of the patrols, PG&E and Mendocino Co-Op planes spotted 142 fires, and in seven instances, PG&E was first to report the fires to CAL FIRE or the U.S. Forest Service. Early detection of smoke or fire allows fire agencies to quickly respond to accurate locations to put out fires before they spread.

“CAL FIRE has responded to over 1,700 wildfires since January 1, 2017 that have resulted in more than 18,000 acres burned across California,” said Chief Joe Tyler, CAL FIRE’s assistant deputy director of fire protection. “We appreciate the aerial patrols PG&E does to look for potential fire starts, especially in those areas most impacted by the unprecedented tree mortality."

PG&E funds the patrols as part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality emergency caused by years of drought and bark beetle infestation. In addition to its daily aerial fire patrols, PG&E is conducting enhanced ground patrols on 73,000 miles of electric power line to inspect and remove dead and dying trees that could fall into a line and cause a fire. PG&E provided $2 million to local Fire Safe Councils this year to fund 43 fuel reduction projects in 21 counties. The company is also supporting CAL FIRE’s public education campaign to help raise and drive awareness of fire risk, prevention and response.

Dead trees are an extreme fire danger because they allow wildfires to spread rapidly. If you have dead or dying trees on your property, the entire tree needs to be removed. Contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 or online at www.pge.com/treesanddrought before removing dead trees near power lines. You can learn more about bark beetle and how to remove dead trees on your property through CAL FIRE's www.ReadyforWildfire.org.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.

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