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Ontario's five largest electricity utilities unite to warn of scams this holiday season

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 30, 2021 /CNW/ - The busy holiday season is prime time for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims — especially leading into weekends. In response to increased fraudulent activity across Ontario, Alectra Utilities, Elexicon Energy, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa and Toronto Hydro are joining forces to increase awareness about ongoing sophisticated scams targeting utility customers.

Some common tactics fraudsters use to target Ontarians include impersonation of the local utility or its employees; sending threatening phone calls, texts and emails; or showing up in-person at a customer's home or business and requesting personal information. The requests can include pressure for immediate payment, threats to disconnect service the same day, and even demands to purchase prepaid debit cards, gift cards or bitcoin.

The utilities are encouraging all customers to protect themselves and are providing them with the following tips to stay safe:

  • Never make a payment for a charge that isn't listed on your most recent bill
  • Ignore text messages or emails with suspicious links promising refunds
  • Don't call the number provided to you — instead, call your utility directly to check the status of your account
  • Don't provide any personal information or details about your account 
  • Utility companies will never threaten immediate disconnection for non-payment
  • If you feel threatened in any way, contact your local police

Fraudsters have increasingly targeted business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding new and innovative ways to acquire personal information or money. The five utilities are encouraging business customers to protect themselves with the following tips:

  • Educate employees to be cautious of unsolicited calls
    • If they didn't initiate the call, they shouldn't provide or confirm any information, including business address, account numbers or office details
  • Compile a list of companies your business uses, including utility providers, to help employees know which contacts are legitimate

If you believe you may be a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and your local utility.

Customers can find more information at:

About Alectra Utilities Corporation 
Serving more than one million homes and businesses in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe area, Alectra Utilities is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada, based on the total number of customers served. We contribute to the economic growth and vibrancy of the 17 communities we serve by investing in essential energy infrastructure, delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, and providing innovative energy solutions.

Our mission is to be an energy ally, helping our customers and the communities we serve to discover the possibilities of tomorrow's energy future.

About Elexicon Energy
Elexicon Energy powers life's most meaningful moments. As the fourth largest municipally owned electricity distributor in Ontario, our vision is to empower the communities we serve and help customers seize opportunities to ignite a better future. We provide over 171,000 residential and business customers with reliable and affordable energy services. Elexicon Energy is owned by five municipalities: the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Town of Whitby, the City of Belleville and the Municipality of Clarington. Learn more at elexiconenergy.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Hydro One Limited (TSX: H)
Hydro One Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with approximately 1.4 million valued customers, approximately $30.3 billion in assets as at December 31, 2020, and annual revenues in 2020 of approximately $7.3 billion.

Our team of approximately 8,700 skilled and dedicated employees proudly build and maintain a safe and reliable electricity system which is essential to supporting strong and successful communities. In 2020, Hydro One invested approximately $1.9 billion in its transmission and distribution networks, and supported the economy through buying approximately $1.7 billion of goods and services.

We are committed to the communities where we live and work through community investment, sustainability and diversity initiatives. We are designated as a Sustainable Electricity Company by the Canadian Electricity Association.

Hydro One Limited's common shares are listed on the TSX and certain of Hydro One Inc.'s medium term notes are listed on the NYSE. Additional information can be accessed at www.hydroone.comwww.sedar.com or www.sec.gov.

Our website is www.HydroOne.com. Follow us on facebook.com/hydrooneofficial, twitter.com/hydroone and instagram.com/hydrooneofficial.

About Hydro Ottawa

Hydro Ottawa delivers electricity to more than 346,000 homes and businesses in Ottawa and Casselman. For 100 years, Hydro Ottawa has reliably supplied its customers with power, building and investing in the local electric grid. Proudly municipally owned, Hydro Ottawa contributes to the well-being of the community we serve. Its innovative services help customers manage their account and energy use.

About Toronto Hydro

Toronto Hydro owns and operates the electricity distribution system for Canada's largest city. Recognized as a Sustainable Electricity Company™ since 2014, it has approximately 785,000 customers located in the city of Toronto and distributes approximately 18 per cent of the electricity consumed in Ontario.

SOURCE Alectra Utilities Corporation

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Alectra Utilities, Ashley Trgachef, Media Spokespersonashley.trgachef@alectrautilities.com | 416-402-5469; Elexicon Energy, Kimberly Brathwaite, Brand and PR Advisor, kbrathwaite@elexiconenergy.com | 905-424-9477; Hydro One, Media Relations 24 hours a day at 1-877-506-7584 (toll-free in Ontario only) or 416-345-6868; Hydro Ottawa, Josee Larocque, Manager, Media and Public Affairs, joseelarocque@hydroottawa.com | Media Line: 613-738-5499 x2345; Toronto Hydro, Russell Baker, Corporate Spokesperson, media@torontohydro.com | Media Line: 416-903-6845
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