Scammers requesting payment to turn power back on, says Austin Energy

Austin Energy says that they have received reports of scammers telling customers to make a payment to get their power back on.

Austin Energy is reminding its customers that they are restoring power as quickly and safely as they can to those still without power after the recent winter storm. As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, only 6,100 customers are without power still in the Austin area. 

Austin Energy has the following tips to help you not "fall for the call."


How to Recognize a Scam

Scammers will typically reach out to customers by phone, letter, email, text or even visit your home, says Austin Energy. Scammers will also often use valid-looking phone numbers, official-looking letterheads or bills, graphics, uniforms, and other forms of fraudulent identification.

Scams typically have the following markers:

  • Threat to disconnect: The impostor utility representative aggressively tells the customer their account is past due and service will be disconnected — usually within an hour — if a large payment is not made
  • Request for immediate payment: The scammer instructs the customer to quickly purchase a prepaid debit card, widely available at retail stores
  • Request for prepaid debit card info: The scammer asks for the prepaid debit card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds

How to Protect Yourself

Austin Energy says that if you receive a phone call, letter, or email threatening to interrupt service, hang up and dial 3-1-1 to report it. Customers should make a note of call details, especially the phone number that appeared on Caller ID and the number the scammer requested that you call back to make payment. 

Anyone uncertain of their account status can visit the Online Customer Care Portal or call 512-494-9400.


Austin Energy says that City of Austin Utilities will NEVER:

  • Call residential customers with immediate cut-off deadlines
  • Ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone
  • Demand immediate payment in person with cash, gift card, Bitcoin, or any non-traceable form of payment

Austin Energy does note that commercial customers may receive a courtesy call two days prior to scheduled cut off for non-payment.