Utility customers in Cochise County communities are reporting phone calls and door-to-door visits from people claiming to represent Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative or other local utilities and threatening disconnection unless immediate payment is received.

There are also reports of people posing as SSVEC representatives who are giving price quotes for solar installation.

“SSVEC does not provide quotes on installing photovoltaic systems, and we would never come to your door asking to see your bill,” said Jack Blair, chief of member services at the electric cooperative. “If you do receive a quote on installing solar panels from a reputable source, please call us to schedule a quote review before you sign anything.”

Doing so will allow the utility to help verify that the quote is based on current SSVEC rates and ensure the information is accurate, Blair said.

There also have been multiple recent fraud cases involving scammers contacting utility members and customers saying they represent SSVEC or other local utilities.

“The scammer informs the potential victim that there is a service person en route to their property to disconnect the power or turn off the water,” Blair said. “In some cases, the caller ID may even show that the call is coming from SSVEC or another local utility.

“The scammer then provides a number where the victim can get in touch with a supervisor or attempts to set up a meeting location to collect a supposedly outstanding payment.”

Reports of victims spending hundreds of dollars on gift cards or providing personal payment information have been received by local utilities and law enforcement authorities, Blair said.

“While we do make in-person and automated calls to member to discuss billing or potential disconnect issues, for your security we will never ask that a payment be made during the call,” he said.

SSVEC members can make payments online at www.ssvec.org or call a published cooperative number to make a payment over the phone.

In the event a caller is demanding an immediate payment, please hang up immediately and call one of the verified SSVEC telephone numbers, available online at www.ssvec.org/contact/locations.php. If you suspect the caller is attempting to scam you, contact your local law enforcement agency on their non-emergency line and report the incident.

Submitted by Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative