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Empower yourself against utility scams

Empower yourself against utility scams

Lakeland Electric wants to make customers aware of a variety of scams that frequently target utility customers. Lakeland Electric representatives will never call requesting payment or ask for your bank or credit card information over the phone. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any call, email or visit from someone claiming to be from Lakeland Electric, especially one in which payment is requested, you should contact us directly at customerservice@lakelandelectric.com or 863-834-9535. Being well informed can help you detect suspicious behavior and ultimately help you to avoid a scam. Below is the latest scam that could affect you. Call your local law enforcement if you suspect any of these:

Small Business Scams
Scammers know that small businesses depend on electricity, internet connectivity and phone service in order to operate. They may call claiming that the bill for a vital service is overdue and threaten to cut off the electricity or disconnect phone service if payment isn't made immediately. They’re counting on you being so panicked that you'll agree to pay the "bill" by credit card or prepaid debit card over the phone. Lakeland Electric will send out written notices giving you several chances to pay before disconnection. Lakeland Electric will never call demanding payment. Some of the scammers also have the ability to manipulate the phone number seen via caller I.D. to display as if the call is coming from a Lakeland Electric phone line. Pay over the phone only if you initiated the call to the authorized number on your bill (863) 834-9535. Don’t call any number the caller gave you.

Green Dot MoneyPak/Phone Scams
This scam targets small commercial businesses and attempts to collect payment. The scheme works like this: Customers receive a call telling them their electric service is scheduled for immediate disconnection and they need to make a payment by purchasing a "Green Dot MoneyPak" at a local convenience store. The "Green Dot MoneyPak" card is a temporary pre-paid credit card. After the customer purchases the card, they are told to call back and provide a receipt and PIN number. Once that information is obtained, the money on the card is then transferred to those behind the scheme. Pay over the phone by only calling the authorized number on your bill (863) 834-9535. Don’t call any number the caller gave you.

REPORT FRAUD OR SCAMS
If you get a call like this, please contact us by calling (863) 834-9535. You can also contact the authorities listed below:

If you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, it is critical that you take the following actions:

  • Call the financial institutions and credit card companies that you deal with to inform them of the situation
  • Call one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) to report it and place an alert on your account. The agency you contact will notify the other two bureaus
  • Call the Social Security Administration if your Social Security card or number is stolen
  • Change the PIN (personal identification number) and password to all of your online accounts
  • File a police report and get a copy of it for your records
  • File a complaint and an Identify Theft Affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission
  • Remember to keep a record of what happened and the actions that you took to resolve the issue


Delayed Posting of Mailed Payments

DELAYED POSTING OF MAILED PAYMENTS TO LAKELAND ELECTRIC IS RESULT OF
POLK COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR PROCESSING DELAY

LAKELAND, Fla. (July 2, 2020) – Customers who mailed a check or money order to Lakeland Electric over the past seven days will not see their payments posted to their utility accounts or posted to their bank account. Checks or money orders mailed to Lakeland Electric are processed by the Polk County Tax Collector, which was affected by a targeted computer virus on June 23. The computer virus delayed the payment file transfers to the utility. Payment file transfers to Lakeland Electric resumed today, and payments are estimated to be posted to customers’ utility accounts and bank accounts by Monday, July 6.

Checks and money orders represent about 35% of Lakeland Electric’s monthly payments. All cuts for non-payment have been suspended until July 5, and Lakeland Electric has suspended all late fees until October 1, 2020.

As customers head into the holiday weekend, they should be aware that their utility bill payment may not have been posted to their bank account. Lakeland Electric is working hard to update customer accounts quickly and accurately now that payment information is available.


Redesigned Utility Bill

LAKELAND ELECTRIC REDESIGNS UTILITY BILLS

Electric Only Account Bill.pdf | Multi-Service Account Bill.pdf

LAKELAND, Fla. (June 30, 2020) – Lakeland Electric’s customers will begin receiving redesigned utility bills on July 1. The biggest change customers who receive multiple utility services will notice is a new City of Lakeland Utilities logo at the top of their bill. Electric-only customers will continue to see the Lakeland Electric logo at the top of the bill.

The new bill is designed to improve readability, make it easier for customers to distinguish between utility service costs, and draw customers’ focus to crucial information. In preparation for this project, Lakeland Electric examined utility bills from across the country and participated in a national utility benchmarking study of bill redesign. The utility implemented the study’s key takeaways into their bill redesign by using colors and graphs and limiting text. The redesign project was completed with no increase in production cost.

Customers’ due date and amount due are now prominently displayed in a red box on the top right corner of the bill. A donut graph on the first page creates a visual breakdown of each service for multi-service accounts or service tiers for single service accounts. Customers’ bill details, including annual usage graph, customer charges, fees, surcharges, and taxes, will now appear on the second page of the bill. Customers will also benefit from seeing important messages appear prominently on the bill.

“As Lakeland’s locally owned utility, we are constantly working to improve the customer experience,” said Dave Kus, Lakeland Electric Assistant General Manager of Customer Service. “We’ve worked to design this bill to serve all of our customers’ needs, whether customers prefer to take a cursory glance or they want a detailed description of their utility usage.”

Lakeland Electric conducted a customer survey in February to help determine the final bill design. Overall design, ease of finding information, and readability survey questions all scored very high. Customer comments included “Best design of a bill,” and “Good job on the redesign. Thumbs up.”


Your Next Bill
 

 

We’ve redesigned our bills to make it easier than ever to understand your bill. We examined utility bills from across the country and participated in a national utility benchmarking study of bill redesign projects. To make a great bill design, we gathered their best practices and added a little Lakeland spin to make it stand out.

The biggest change is a new City of Lakeland Utilities logo for customers who receive multiple services like water, wastewater, solid waste, recycling, etc. The new donut graph breaks down your electric, water, and other services in a single glance. Our electric-only customers will still receive a bill with a Lakeland Electric logo. Your donut graph will show your electric usage by tier.

What’s Changed?:

  1. New Logo – If you receive multiple services, your bill will now feature a City of Lakeland Utilities logo.*Electric-only customers will still see the Lakeland Electric logo.
  2. Easy to Read – Due date and amount due are now at the top of the page for customers who want to pay and go.
  3. At-a-Glance – With the new donut graph on the front page, you can quickly breakdown the charge for each service.
  4. Important Messages – They’re now on the front page, so you don’t miss out on important information.
  5. We Kept the Graphs – We know many of you check your bill detail graphs regularly. They are now on page two. (We love graphs too!)

We’ve used colors and graphs to draw your focus to key information. By limiting the text to essential information, we’ve improved the readability. Luckily, you’re keeping some of the lowest electric rates in the State of Florida, so the only thing that changes on your bill is the way it looks. We’ve worked hard to design this bill to serve all of our customers’ needs, whether you just want to take a cursory glance or if you want a detailed description of your utility usage.

Before rolling out the new bill design, we asked customers to help us select the final bill design through a customer survey. You spoke, and we listened. Customers said this design was easy to read and easy to find information.

What are customers saying?

“Good job on the redesign. Thumbs up.”

 “I like the color scheme. It takes your eyes to important parts of the bill.”

“I actually like the whole new layout and the inclusion of phone numbers.”

 “Best design of a bill”

“Let’s do it. Revamp”


Want to dig deeper into your energy usage? View your bill online at https://lakelandelectric.com/MyAccount and click data tools to get down to the minute data on your usage. Use the overlays to see how the temperature affects your bill total and much more.

As your locally owned utility, we never stop working to improve your experience. We are proud of our new bill, and we hope you’ll like it too.