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3 ways to identify a utility worker

December 10, 2018 | Jodi Baker | safety, tips
COM_ID a utility employee_homepage

OPPD has been issuing alerts about phone scammers who pretend they’re with a utility to steal customers’ money – from a distance. But some of these impostors may be bold enough to show up at your door.

Why would an OPPD employee make an in-person visit?

There are a number of reasons you might see a legitimate OPPD employee or contractor knocking on your door. These could be employees from areas such as metering, collections, forestry, field or streetlight crews, among others.

OPPD does not make unscheduled visits very often. However, it is possible.

identify a utility worker
OPPD employees like this troubleshooter will always have identifying clothing and/or badges that mark them as OPPD personnel.

It could happen for a number of reasons, such as the need to investigate a power outage. Crews are instructed to let customers know that they will be on-site and to explain the work they will be doing, if that work is not planned in advance.

In addition, they may arrive to conduct equipment or pole inspections, or obtain meter readings that cannot be captured remotely. They may also stop to follow-up on customer, neighbor, or passerby reports, talk about tree trimming, or let customers know they need access to their yard to work on power equipment.

How do you recognize a legitimate OPPD employee?
  • Check their badge: Utility workers’ clothing may vary, but all OPPD employees carry badges. Ask to see identification.
  • Call about contractors: Contractors may not carry OPPD identification. But they can describe the work they are doing. Customers are welcome to call OPPD at 402-536-4131 or toll free 877-536-4131 to verify work being done in the area.

    COM_Asplundh contractors
    OPPD contractors, like these tree trimmers, should be able to describe the work they are doing for OPPD.
  • Utility work rarely requires inside entry: If OPPD does show up, most of the work they conduct will take place outside of your home or business. Occasionally, technicians may need inside access. Before allowing a worker to enter your home, check to ensure they have the proper credentials. Don’t hesitate to call OPPD to verify the work.

If you are suspicious of anybody claiming to be an OPPD employee or contractor, call the utility. If you feel threatened in any way, shut and lock your door. Then, call 911.

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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