Emera Maine officials say they've received reports that scammers are calling customers, threatening to shut off their power.

April is the month that Emera Maine, and other utility companies, are given the go-ahead by the Public Utilities Commission to shut off electricity to customers with an outstanding balance. During the cold winter months, it takes special permission from the PUC before a resident's power can be cut, but once the weather warms up, customers need to make sure their bills are paid.

Now, Emera Maine officials say scammers have started calling residents and businesses in their coverage area, posing as collection agents for the utility. They demand immediate payment or else they say the electricity will be shut off. The crooks will often ask for payment using some sort of pre-paid, non-refundable card, which Emera Maine officials say is not something they do. Even the phone numbers on caller ID sometimes say 'Emera Maine,' but that's due to a practice called 'spoofing.'

A company spokesperson said an Emera Maine representative will ask for the primary account holder by name, and will know the account number and billing information. They will never ask the customer for that information. If a customer is behind on their payments, Emera will send them a letter. Subsequently, if payment isn't made, a representative will call and encourage the customer to work out a payment arrangement. They say customer service is a priority, and they will make every effort to work with the customers. Disconnection is a last resort.

Anyone who gets one of these calls and thinks that it may be a scam should hang up and call Emera at 1-855-EMERA-11 or (207) 973-2000. Do NOT call the number that comes up on caller ID. This will ensure that it's actually Emera Maine on the other end of the call.

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