PPL Electric Utilities Scams: How to Identify Them, How to Avoid Them
Unfortunately, scams involving utilities like PPL Electric Utilities are fairly common. Have you been a victim of fraud involving PPL Electric? Here we explain some of the common types of scams that con artists and scammers use to prey on PPL Electric customers, so that you can stay safe.
Common Features of PPL Electric Utilities Scams
Scams involving PPL Electric tend to share some common features
- The scams target small businesses or vulnerable households in the PPL Electric service area
- They often involve the threat of immediate disconnection if PPL customers don't pay money immediately
PPL Electric impersonators may try to enter customer homes by asking to see their bills and/or meters, and may steal goods or demand money for their services.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
While con artists and scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated (see our descriptions of recent scams targeting PPL Electric customers below), spotting a scam can be fairly easy if you stay aware of a few facts.
General Tips for Avoiding Scams
Get in the habit of following these tips when dealing with anyone who contacts you (whether in person or over the phone) claiming to be representing PPL Electric.
- Always ask for identification: all PPL Electric employees should have company photo identification cards. If you are approached in person by someone claiming to represent PPL Electric, ask to see their ID. Any contractor doing work for PPL Electric is also required to carry a PPL Electric ID. In most cases, PPL Electric employees will travel in clearly marked PPL Electric vehicles when providing service to residences and businesses.
Verify a phone call from PPL Electric by asking the representative to provide the last four or five digits of your PPL Electric account number (make sure to have this handy with you!), or ask them for their employee number
- Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number, and/or bank account information to anyone requesting it unless it was you initiated the contact and you are sure of the identity of the person you are speaking with.
- Never let anyone into your home if they cannot show you official PPL Electric Utilities ID, or if you have any doubt about their authenticity. For example, if someone comes to your door and you are not sure whether they truly are a PPL Electric representative, tell them to wait outside, and call the PPL Electric customer service number to confirm their identification
- PP&L Electric's customer service number is 1-800-342-5775. Their number for payment assistance is 1-8000-358-6623. Be extremely cautious of any calls from people claiming to be from PP&L Electric Utilities that do not come from these numbers, and never make a payment on a website that comes from a link in an email or on a website that isn't linked to PPL Electric Utilities.
If you receive a visit or a phone call from someone claiming to be from PPL Electric but who you don't trust, call PPL Electric customer service, or your local police. If you think it is an emergency, call 9-1-1
One way of avoiding most types of PPL Electric scams is to sign up for automated billing. With PPL Electric's Autopay service, your total amount due from your bill is automatically deducted from your account each month. Find out more about autopay.
Avoiding PPL Electric Phone Scams
You can avoid falling for a phone scam from someone claiming to be calling from PPL Electric if you remember these tips:
Never give personal information such as your SSN or credit card information over the phone unless you are sure about the authenticity of the caller
Know when PPL Electric might call you: PPL Electric may contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options and to remind them that service disconnection is a possibility if they fail to pay their past due balance. However, they never will demand immediate payment as the only option to avoid shutoff. Customers who may face impending service disconnection if they don't pay their past due balance still have the option of paying by check, credit card or debit card.
Verify the identity of the caller: PPL Electric representatives should be able to provide you with exact details of your account, such as the last five digits of your account number, and/or the exact balance on your account. If you doubt the identity of the caller, hang up immediately and call PPL Electric customer service at 1-800-342-5775.
Be careful about providing personal information: be wary of providing personal information (including your banking/credit card information, or Social Security Number) to anyone who calls you, unless you are sure about the authenticity of the caller.
Be aware of PPL Electric's disconnection process: PPL Electric must certain rules set by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission when it comes to disconnecting customers for non-payment. It is unlikely that you will be unaware of having missed a payment before receiving a final disconnection notice. Find out more about the service shutoff procedure PPL Electric must follow.
Avoiding Door to Door Scams
Keep these tips in mind when you receive a visit at the door from anyone claiming to be representing PPL Electric
- If you receive a visit from a PPL Electric employee who you have doubts about, do not let them into your home until you have first called PPL Electric to confirm their identity.
- Know why PPL Electric might visit you: PPL Electric does not conduct sales door-to-door, nor do they offer home energy services (such as residential equipment inspections or maintenance services).
- Do not show your bill to anyone who knocks on your door.
Backgrounder: PPL Electric's Disconnection Process
Many scammers contact PPL Electric customers telling them that their power bills haven't been paid, and they will have their service disconnected imminently unless they pay immediately. However, PPL Electric - like all electric utility companies in Pennsylvania - must follow certain rules for disconnection.
When Can PPL Electric Shut Off Service?
PPL Electric is allowed to disconnect service for customers for (among others) any one of the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of an undisputed amount on a bill
- PPL has determined that the customer's service installation is dangerous/defective, and/or may impair PPL Electric's equipment or service to other customers
- PPL Electric has determined that some of their equipment has been interfered with, or has found evidence of tampering
- The customer refuses to allow PPL Electric Utilities access to its equipment
- Energy use that hasn't been paid for (stolen electricity)
- The customer hasn't paid amounts due as part of a deferred payment agreement
- The customer hasn't paid a security deposit
PPL Electric will not disconnect electric service to a home where one of its residents has a certified medical condition that would be aggravated by a cut to service.
Furthermore, PPL Electric is not allowed to disconnect service on weekdays, and not on weekends (Saturdays/Sundays) public holidays or on the day preceding a public holiday, any other day on which PPL Electric's main business office is closed for business. They can only disconnect service during these times if it is an emergency.
Steps Towards Disconnection
PPL Electric Utilities must take the following steps if they are going to disconnect you for failure to pay your bill/a security deposit, if you haven't followed through on a special payment arrangement, or if you refuse to allow access to its equipment.
- Send you a warning notice (10-Day Notice). Once you get the notice, PPL Electric has up to 60 days to shut off your service.
- Three days prior to your shut-off date, they must also attempt to contact you.
- During winter months (December 1 through March 31), if PPL Electric Utilities cannot reach you at the time of termination, they must leave a 48-hour notice at your residence.
What does this all mean? Well, one of the most important points to remember is that it is very unlikely that you will be unaware that you have missed a payment before you receive notice of an upcoming disconnection. PPL Electric prefers to resolve payment problems before termination is necessary. If your service is scheduled for disconnection, you must have already received a written warning, and it is quite likely that PPL Electric will also have called you before issuing a final notice.
Another thing to keep in mind is that PPL Electric Utilities can only disconnect your service at certain times of the week. If you receive an impending service disconnection call from someone claiming to be working for PPL Electric on the weekend or on a holiday, then you should call PPL Electric straight away at 1-800-572-1111, as this is likely fraudulent.
Can PPL Electric Disconnect Service Without Warning?PPL is allowed to shut off service without providing notice for the following reasons:
- The customer is stealing utility service, or getting service through fraud
- Unsafe service conditions
- Meter tampering
- Giving a bad check to avoid termination
PPL Electric Bill Payment Options
As a reminder, PPL Electric accepts the following payment options for your bill:
- With cash: at any authorized payment center within PPL Electric's service territory
- By check or money order: only when you mail your payment to the following address (which should match the address on the pay stub portion of your bill): PPL Electric Utilities P.O. Box 25239 Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-5239
- Through your bank account: you can do this online, through your PPL Electric My Account or through your bank
- By credit/debit card: you can pay by credit/debit card over the phone at 1-800-672-2413, or at any one of the many authorized payment center located in the PP&L Electric Utilities service area. Note that a processing fee will apply for this service
Keep in mind that PPL Electric does not accept pre-paid debit cards (such as the Green Dot Money Pak) or gift cards as payment.
What to do if you think you've been the victim of a scam
Call PPL Electric if you think that you've been the victim of a scam involving someone impersonating a PPL Electric representative. You may also want to call your local police department and/or the Federal Trade Commission to report the scam.
Previous PPL Electric Scams
Here is a brief summary of some recent scams involving PPL Electric Utilities:
March, 2015: PP&L Electric customers in Bethlehem, PA reported receiving visits from a couple claiming to be from the utility and asking to see the customers' bills. Police suspected that these visits were related to a series of distraction-type burglaries.
Summer, 2014: Several PPL Electric Utilities customers reported receiving telephone calls telling them that they were overdue on their bills and threatening them that power would be shut off unless an immediate payment was made with a prepaid debit card.