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Lakeland Electric Provides Mutual Aid

When storms damage put communities in crisis, our Lakeland Electric team answers the call. On August 27, Hurricane Laura made landfall as a damaging Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana. Our mutual aid team was already on its way to provide assistance. The hurricane caused extensive damage and tied with the 1856 Last Island Hurricane as the strongest hurricane to make Louisiana's landfall.

Lakeland Electric’s first stop was in Layfette, Louisiana. Their public power utility, Layfette Utility Systems, was one of the first mutual aid teams to assist Lakeland during our recovery from Hurricane Irma in 2017. So it was with particular satisfaction that our team arrived in Layfette to return the favor to our sister utility.

For two weeks, our mutual aid team assisted communities affected by the storm. They traveled in Louisiana from Layfette to Abbeville, Alexandria, and Winnfield to help restore power. The communities in Louisiana welcomed our crews with open, albeit socially distant, arms. After long days of hot and hazardous work, a hot meal means a lot. Churches and community members opened their doors to serve our team home-cooked meals and their appreciation. One particularly welcome sight was an affectionately dubbed “dessert queen” who treated our employees to delicious homemade treats and made restoring power to these communities even sweeter.

Leaving for a mutual aid assignment means time away from home and family. It usually involves very long days and challenging work. Being part of helping to restore communities in need makes it worth the effort. Access to this national network for mutual aid assistance during storm recovery is just one of the great benefits of being a public power company. Lakeland Electric is proud to provide mutual aid assistance, and we know our fellow public power utilities will also be there to help us when we need them. Please join us in welcoming our mutual aid team safely home. If you see our employees in the field, give them a wave or a smile to say thank you.

 


Florida Lineman Appreciation Day

Florida Lineman Appreciation Day

Every year on August 26th, Lakeland Electric takes the time to remember the hard work our lineworkers do each and every day to keep the lights on in Lakeland. Our lineworkers are essential and are appreciated for keeping the electricity flowing to our customers. During the pandemic, they continue to work hard every day. These workers serve our community and face hazards so that we are able to enjoy the comfort of our homes and businesses. Without the dedication, hard work, and efficiency of our lineworkers, Lakeland would be a lot less bright.

Many of us take electricity for granted until it goes out. Lineworkers risk their lives every day in the name of public interest but are rarely celebrated as heroes. Their faces aren’t common on billboards, and they don’t have household names. They are workers who make sure the power stays on in homes and businesses across Florida. In the event of a disaster, they often pave the way for first responders.

Here at Lakeland Electric, we have top quality lineworkers. Their duties range from restoring electricity due to power outages, repairing fallen powerlines, quickly responding after storms, and so much more. While our lineworkers are on the job, their number one priority is safety for both themselves and the community. Being a lineworker is more than a job. Being a lineworker means being a part of a family that looks out for each other.

If you see a lineman on the 26th of this month or any other day, be sure to wave hello and thank them from a safe distance, of course. We’re sure they would appreciate it! And, the next time you flip on a switch or sit in the A/C remember the lineworker helped make it possible.


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.