Manager Connection – Beware of Utility Scams

By Syd Briggs,
General Manager

As the energy industry continues to change, technology is paving the way for innovation in the way energy is used, produced, stored and shared.

Consumers are interested in more green energy alternatives while smart homes and apps make managing energy use and paying your electric bill more convenient than ever.

While the changing energy market has created more options for consumers, it has also resulted in more utility scams and misleading information.

Utility scams are common because of the vast number of utilities that exist, and consumers are understandably anxious with the threat of disruption to their electric, heating or water service. Second, new products and services in the energy industry provide an opening for scammers and pop-up companies to provide misleading information or shoddy products and services.

Avoid phone scams

A common phone scam typically begins with a phone number that appears to be from a valid utility company. The scammer will claim you have a past due balance on your account, and threaten to
disconnect service without an immediate payment.

It’s not uncommon for the scammer to demand that you use a prepaid debit card or money order, often within a very short, urgent time frame to pay the “past due” amount.

You can combat this scam by being aware of the status of your account. Never give your banking or personal information over the phone to someone you did not call. If you have a question or concern about your energy bill or the status of your account, please call Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric directly at 507-451- 7340 or 800-526-3514. Do not use the phone number given by the scammer or the number displayed on your caller ID.

With the stretches of extremely cold weather this winter, you may notice a higher electric bill, and wondering how you may use electricity more efficiently.

With being a Touchstone Energy® Cooperative, Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric has brochures from Touchstone Energy promoting energy solutions regarding efficiency. The publications available inside the public entrance at Steele-Waseca include, “101 Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money,” and, “Home Energy Savings Guide,” a resource for operating your home efficiently.

Steele-Waseca has also enhanced energy efficiency ideas on our website,, and on the co-op’s Facebook page. Member Services Supervisor Kim Wilson has produced these tips so members may
utilize them around their home.

Bitmoji KW Meter

In this ever-changing environment, it’s important to remember you have a trusted energy advisor—your local electric cooperative. We are a community-focused organization that works to efficiently deliver
affordable, reliable and safe energy to our members.

Remember, we’re just one call or click away, so please reach out with any questions about your electric service or bills—we’re here to help.