NBC 5 Responds

How to Spot a Disconnection Scam

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A North Texas small business owner contacted NBC 5 Responds after getting a call from someone threatening to cut off her power. Read on for the red flags that helped the consumer recognize the call was a scam.


On a recent Friday morning at work, Jennifer Junker's phone rang. The caller said it was urgent.

“I'm an Oncor technician and I've been instructed to come and cut off your power for nonpayment, and I will be there in half an hour,” Junker recalled the caller saying.

Junker said she double-checked her records. The bills were paid. She asked for more information and the caller gave her another phone number to dial.

“As soon as they said ‘billing’ and I heard the call center noises in the back, I said, ‘Thank you, goodbye’ and hung up,” said Junker.

Junker recognized the call as a scam. She contacted NBC 5 Responds because she wanted others to be on the lookout too.


If you’re contacted by someone claiming they're shutting off your utilities unless you pay now, don’t give out information or money.

Be aware the threats may also come over email, text, even a knock at your door.

Oncor said another red flag is someone requesting payment on behalf of Oncor. It reminds consumers retail electric providers handle billing, not Oncor. Oncor also said those impersonating the company may claim the phone number they are using is different than the number on a customer’s regular utility bill due to telework status.

To verify a disconnection notice, pull out your bill and call that number to reach your provider directly.


Keep in mind that a real utility is not going to demand immediate payment by phone and they're not going to call you out of the blue.

There are rules about how disconnections are handled.

According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, your retail electric provider must provide written notice.

In most cases, the disconnection date must be 10 days from when the notice is issued.

The rules are different for customers who already have a medical critical care or chronic condition designation with their retail electric provider. Customers can fill out an application, submit it with a doctor’s note to their transmission and delivery utility - like Oncor. If the customer submits the form to their retail electric provider, it is required to forward the application to the TDU. You can find the application and instructions here.

If you’re concerned you won’t be able to pay your bill, contact your provider and ask for a deferred payment plan.

The PUC says a customer can be protected from disconnection if the customer is honoring a payment plan or an assistance agency lets the provider know it has pledged to pay the bill.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.

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