Lots happening this week in energy and here is a quick summary of important topics.

So many stories are out there about people who are doing so much good while our nation copes with the pandemic. And then there is this: Utility Scams Proliferate During COVID-19 Outbreak. “Scammers are becoming especially active in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving utility companies and consumer watchdogs scrambling to catch up.”

Consumers should know that especially now utilities are working with their customers to prevent disconnects. Check the site, Utilities United Against Scams. It can fill you in on common scammer tactics. Scammers use email, phone and even your front door to try and get to you. (I even heard of some that wear bright yellow vests to look official.)

ECC found stories about scams from all over the country. Here’s one story from Missouri that has good information about scammers.  The story says, “Posing as electric, water or natural gas company employees, scammers threaten to disconnect or shut off service if customers fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable forms of payment.”

As with many scams, older citizens may be easier targets, so this is a time to watch out for your neighbors. “Let’s be careful out there!”

Energy Consumers of the Carolinas is in its third calendar year. This started with the idea that the everyday power consumer is facing a new kind of energy environment, one that requires the customer to learn more about energy at exactly the time the industry was getting pulled in a dozen directions. New technology. New kinds of billing. Re-organizations and re-naming of electric companies. Most notably, a new responsibility for customers to know their electric service so they could manage it well and demand the best from their power providers.

That is one reason we have used this family in some of our blogs. To help families do that balancing act in energy knowledge and management. It’s why ECC is here – to ask the questions that consumers may have asked, or  the questions that sure seem logical to ask. I use my 45+ years of work in various parts of the energy industry – oil, gas, electric, pipeline – and across the country – to observe the evolving industry in an effort to provide our readers with an upfront take on energy.

We always like to pass along good ideas from utilities even if they are not in the Carolinas. With so many families looking for good ways to use out-of-school time wisely, we found this material that can be used to learn about electricity.

We saw this from our friends in Oregon at the Bonneville Power Authority, so we want to pass them along. This diagram can be useful to teach your student how hydro-power works. The utility has a variety of student coloring books and puzzles, too. Here’s the site with all kinds of good student lessons.

Check out this puzzle book.

From the Bonneville Power website: Electricity. You can’t see it, yet its power is evident just about everywhere you look. Learn more about this essential resource – from how it is generated and increasingly consumed to what you can do to be a smarter energy user. This information can be used in the classroom or at home, and is suitable for kids in eighth through 12th grades.

“Any one disaster is manageable, but when you start layering them on top of each other, it gets much more challenging,” That is from an executive at one of our nation’s Regional Transmission Organizations as he talks about the impact of the pandemic.

WIRED magazine got that quote for its article: Deep dive: America’s Electricity is Safe From the Coronavirus—for Now

Our feature image at the top of this blog is from a garden in South Charlotte and a reminder that it is Springtime, and so it is also storm season. Have you read our blog about utility tree trimming?

 

(Left) In each edition of our Energy Consumers Week blog we will post a definition about energy, just so see some of the concepts that help get power to your home or business. (Word definition – Energy Information Agency)