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SAFETY


Beware of Bill Payment Scam Co-ops around the country are warning members about a scam


in which residents are told President Obama will help pay energy bills under a special federal program once they provide personal information such as a bank routing number or their Social Secu- rity number. “We urge our members to guard their personal account and


banking information and to never share this information with strangers,” says VVEC General Manager Alice Houston. Six members of the Lexington, S.C co-op were bilked, and a


few even had their service disconnected as a result, reports Eddie Richardson, vice-president for member services for the S.C. co-op. “They were thinking their bill was paid without checking with


us to be sure,” says Richardson, who notified the state’s depart- ment of consumer affairs about the incidents. “Others called us, saying they didn’t get the credit on their accounts.” Better Business Bureaus in several states also have issued con-


sumer warnings, as well as attorneys general in Mississippi, North Carolina, Arizona, and elsewhere. “If anyone has questions about programs, organizations or


agencies who offer assistance with utility bills, we encourage them to contact the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are legiti- mate,” says Houston. She goes on to point out VVEC consumer ser- vices representatives have contact information on area programs and agencies who might offer assistance.


CRASH! If you have a car accident that


involves a utility pole, don’t get out of your car. Instead, stay inside and use your


cell phone to call 911. If you don’t have your phone with you, yell for help until someone else offers to make the emergency call. The reason: Until the electric


utility line crew de-energizes the power line, you have to assume the wire is “live” and can electrocute you and your passengers. Wait for the OK from the pros before touching anything outside of your car. Of course, if your car catches on


fire, you’ll need to get out in a hurry. In that case, jump out so you land – on both feet – as far away from your car as possible. Hop – don’t walk – away from the car, making sure that both feet touch the ground at the same time with each hop. Do not touch the utility pole, any


utility wire or anything that’s touch- ing or even close to a utility line. Assume everything is energized with electricity and that it can harm or even kill you if you touch it.


What to do if You Hit a Utility Pole


August 2012 VVEC Power Circuit 3


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