President Blue Jenkins shares company response to pandemic.
We advise customers to be on alert for scams targeting utility customers. Scams during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are on the rise as people are feeling vulnerable about their financial circumstances. A typical scam is a message that demands a customer pay their gas bill immediately or their natural gas service will be disconnected. Such calls are not from Washington Gas.
Also, Washington Gas does not communicate with customers via text message, so please disregard texts about your gas bill and do not provide information in response. Finally, Washington Gas does not market its gas service through phone calls or texts. Communications pretending to be from Washington Gas actually come from scammers or unscrupulous gas suppliers. Please ignore them.
Be alert – follow these simple tips to avoid being scammed:
- Notify your energy supplier immediately if you fail to receive your regular monthly utility bill or receive a bill
- Know the name of the natural gas company that provides your gas supply (Washington Gas or a third party).
- Never sign any document without reading it thoroughly.
- Remember, disregard any texts you may receive about your Washington Gas service and bill, and do not provide any information in response. Washington Gas does not communicate with customers via text message.
- Washington Gas will never demand payment over the phone or ask you to buy a prepaid debit card to pay your bill.
- You will never be asked for your bank account number or credit card information over the phone.
- Utilities do not accept bitcoin as a form of payment. If you have been contacted about paying your bill using bitcoin, please report it as a scam.
Slams – Unauthorized switching of your natural gas supplier
Customers usually don’t discover they have been “slammed” until they receive their bill and it lists a different or new energy supplier name (ie., not the one they’ve signed up for). A slam is when:
- Customers are signed up for competitive utility services without their knowledge or consent.
- Someone switches the customer’s energy provider without the customer’s permission.
- If you suspect your energy supplier was switched without your consent, please contact Customer Service at 844 –WASHGAS (927-4427) or log into your account at www.washingtongas.com if you have any concerns.
- Also, please follow the tips and guidelines in the scam and identity theft sections of this page, and report it to your public service commission (contact information listed below).
Protect Your Identity
It is always a safe practice to not share your Social Security number or driver’s license number with a vendor unless you can authorize they are a legitimate company representative, and you should always read the fine print for the terms of service of a contract.
We also remind you of the following tips:
- Designate one person in your household who is authorized to make changes to your utility service.
- Know when the contract with your energy supplier is set to expire. Watch for things like early termination fees, which may indicate that you’ve been slammed if you haven’t initiated a switch to another energy supplier.
- Be aware of promotions offering discounts on your utility bills and be careful when signing any document. Although unintended, your signature on a document may be interpreted as an agreement to switch.
- Be aware of telemarketers or sales vendors who promise free gifts, lowered rates or better service for switching.
- If you are being visited by a door-to-door representative, ask for company identification. Washington Gas employees are required to provide this information.
- Do not share a copy of your energy bill unless you have verified the identity of the door-to-door representative.
- Notify your energy supplier immediately if you receive a phone call or notice to “verify” a change in your energy service that you didn’t authorize.
- Competitive third-party gas suppliers are licensed to operate by the regulators in each of Washington Gas’ service territories and these issues are reported to each commission
Washington Gas reminds customers that if they notice a third-party supplier on their bill with which they did not contract, to call our customer service department at 844-WASHGAS (927-4427). We will assist customers on a case-by-case basis.
Washington Gas also encourages consumers to report issues directly to the regulatory commission in their jurisdiction.
WASHINGTON DC PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (PSC)
- Office of Consumer Services
1325 G Street, NW, Suite 800,
Washington DC 20005
- Phone: (202) 626-5120
MARYLAND PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (PSC)
- 6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
- Phone: (410) 767-8000
- MD Toll Free: 1-800-492-0474
- TTY Users call via Maryland Relay: 1-800-201-7165
VIRGINIA STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION (SCC)
- Division of Public Utility Regulation
Tyler Building, 4th floor
1300 E. Main St.
Richmond, Virginia 23219
- Toll-free phone: (within Virginia) 1-800-552-7945
- E-mail: UtilityReg@scc.virginia.gov