FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 20 2015 12:00:00:000AM
News Media Contact: Joseph Barrios, (520) 884-3725, firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Wary of Burglars, Scammers & Solar Salesmen Claiming False Ties to TEP
Tucson, Ariz. — Local residents should be aware of recent burglaries, scams and misleading sales pitches from people who falsely claim they are working for or with Tucson Electric Power (TEP).
TEP is warning customers about three types of incidents that appear to be ongoing, including:
Victims reported that nearly a dozen such incidents occurred last year. In the most recent incident, which occurred last month, two men approached a midtown resident, claimed they worked for TEP and asked to access a utility easement through the homeowner’s backyard. As the homeowner escorted one of the men through the yard, police say, the second man entered the home and stole several items. The victim told police one of the men wore a shirt bearing the word “electric.”
Residents should verify the identification of anyone who requests access to their property on behalf of any utility or public agency. Keep the following tips in mind:
- TEP employees or contractors working in the field carry proper identification and are always willing to display it for customers.
- Most TEP employees or contractors will wear shirts, safety vests and hard hats bearing the TEP logo; many also will be driving vehicles bearing the company’s logo.
- Customers can call TEP to verify if employees or contractors are at work in the area.
TEP customers also should be wary of an ongoing phone scam that targeted hundreds of Tucson-area residents last year. In most cases, a caller claiming to be a TEP employee tells customers their electric service is in danger of being shut off because of unpaid bills or because the customer’s meter needs to be replaced. The caller then instructs customers to make payment over the phone with a pre-paid money card to avoid loss of service.
Customers who receive such calls should simply hang up, as TEP would never collect payments in this way. TEP only contacts customers by phone with bill payment reminders as a courtesy. Customers who fall behind on their payments also are mailed disconnect notices — printed on pink paper — before their service is shut off. Finally, TEP never urges customers to purchase pre-paid money cards to pay a monthly bill. A list of legitimate payment methods is available online at tep.com.
Misleading Solar Sales Pitch
TEP customers have reported that a solar lease provider is falsely marketing itself as a “preferred partner” of the new TEP Residential Solar Program. The program is not yet available, and TEP has not selected partners to install and maintain the photovoltaic (PV) arrays that TEP will install at up to 600 local homes.
TEP is currently reviewing proposals from solar installers who wish to participate in TEP’s program, which does not involve leased equipment. Additional details about the program are available online at tep.com, and updates about the selection of installation partners will be posted when they become available.
Customers with questions or new information about any of the issues described above can call TEP’s Customer Care team at (520) 623-7711.
Tucson Electric Power provides safe, reliable electric service to approximately 414,000 customers in southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com.