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Valley Clean Energy Issues Warning About Utility Bill Scam

VCE(From press release) Yolo County residents are advised to be on the alert for scam phone calls purporting to be from their energy provider.

According to one Davis resident who received such a call recently, the caller apologized for overcharging her on her utility bill, explaining that the overcharge was from a third-party supplier.

She was told to press 1 to apply for a rebate check, but the woman hung up, believing that the caller was attempting to gain access to her bank routing and account numbers.

Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s public not-for-profit local electricity provider, would like to reassure its customers that it never asks for a customer’s banking information over the telephone.

“We’re concerned that our customers may believe we’re offering refunds and fall victim to these unscrupulous impostors,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the VCE board of directors and a Yolo County supervisor.

Added Don Malloy, an investigator with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, “I doubt that any legit company would apologize for charging you too much — they’d just send you a refund check.”

According to the AARP, scammers often make utilities a common subject of impostor scams, by far the most common type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The scammers are after the customers’ money or their identities.

While some impersonators call homes and small businesses demanding payment for supposedly delinquent bills and threatening to terminate service, others may say the customer has overpaid and ask for bank account or credit card information to make a “refund,” the AARP reported.

Anyone who has received such a call recently is asked to contact the district attorney’s fraud unit at 855-496-5632 or fraud@yoloda.org. Additionally, a fraud unit complaint form can be accessed online at https://yoloda.org/contact-us/.

About VCE: Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. The city of Winters is VCE’s newest member. VCE’s mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities it serves.  For more information about Valley Clean Energy, visit ValleyCleanEnergy.org or call 530-446-2750.

Comments

Dee

Can Don Saylor please comment about being both on the board of directors (Chair of the Board of Directors) of Valley Clean Energy (VCE) and simultaneously a Yolo County Supervisor?

Bob Milbrodt

Dee
I'm not Don Saylor, but you should understand that VCE is a joint powers agreement to operate an energy aggregation entity. This entity merely purchases energy in bulk and seeks to pass the bulk purchase savings through to consumers. It is not a separate public entity that generates and distributes its own energy services. Hence, each participate (the cities and county) get to choose a representative to sit on its governing board.
The strength of an actual municipal utility district is that you elect your board members, and the entity can exercise all the authority of a public entity (setting rates, funding at lower municipal rates, exercising eminent domain). A MUD is vastly superior to an aggregator, that is why in 1997, we sought to form a Davis MUD. Sadly, LAFCO neglected to place our qualified petition on the ballot.
Your elected politicians then decided to put on the ballot a question to annex most of Yolo County into SMUD. Annexation is a great idea, but asking the bulk of Yolo County (rather than starting with just Davis) was a disaster. Davis voted overwhelmingly to go to SMUD, and had the question been properly posed by our "politicians" we would be receiving vastly superior service and lower rates today.
For example, with a MUD, the Bright Night fiasco could not occur. The MUD would make the decision on energy policy, not the city , which lacks experience and competence in these areas.

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