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Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has joined forces with the American Public Power Association (APPA) to promote their “Utilities United Against Scams Day” Wednesday, November 16, encouraging customers to be aware of payment scams which threaten to shut down utility services immediately, unless a payment is made.
“There are a number of telephone and in-person deceptions that prey on customer fears that their utilities services will be discontinued unless a payment is made immediately,” said Riverside Public Utilities General Manager Girish Balachandran. “Our customers, as well as those across the country, need to know about these scams and the scare tactics that they use so they can avoid falling prey to them,” Balachandran said. For example, RPU would never call a customer and ask for personal payment information, nor request payment in person at a customer’s home or business.
Customers of RPU are only contacted via paper billing statements, online billing emails, through late payment reminder mailings, or green 48-hour Notice notification tags placed at utility property sites only, and any RPU personnel out in the community drive clearly marked city vehicles, wear city uniforms, and display proper photo identification. Any late payment contact by Riverside Public Utilities would only come from its Credit and Collections Department.
Unfortunately, scams like this have been going on nationwide for several years. Some feature live callers, others automated messages, that threaten to shut down utility services unless an immediate payment is made by providing personal banking info, credit card info, or a PayPal account (or similar). Additional utility bill payment scams that have affected RPU customers include: requests by customers to pay for meter change outs to avoid high bills; and the use of telephone number scramblers, which can trick caller identification software to make it look like the calls are coming from the utility, but falsely represent RPU’s customer service telephone number of (951) 782-0330.
While the phone number is RPU’s main phone for customer accounts, billing questions, and for reporting 24-hour water or power emergencies, for security reasons it will never appear on a customer’s caller ID. Customers who have any questions about suspicious calls demanding payments are encouraged to hang up with callers, and report them by calling the city’s call center by dialing 311, or (951) 826-5311.
Riverside, Calif. – Tune in to Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) weekly radio program the Green Power Report on Monday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m. on AM 590 The Answer, as we welcome Ford Motor Company’s Director of Environmental Quality Andy Hobbs.
Find out how Hobbs, a 30-year veteran with Ford, and his team played a key role in helping the company achieve the number one Best Global Green Brand in 2014, and have been integral in building on the company’s legacy of forward thinking environmental stewardship to continue reducing Ford’s environmental footprint worldwide.
The multi award winning Green Power Report has been on-air since 2007 and serves as one of Inland Southern California’s key sources for news about environmental stewardship, sustainable living practices, and renewable energy. Past guests have included area city and utilities officials as well as top environmental bloggers, activists, celebrities, and corporate heads.
After their air dates, Green Power Report broadcasts are available to download through iTunes and via the show’s radio player at www.GreenRiverside.com. For additional information about Riverside Public Utilities follow us on Facebook and on Twitter, or visit www.RiversidePublicUtilites.com
For additional information on the American Public Power Association, visit online at www.publicpower.org
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) presented a senior from John W. North High School and a former student from La Sierra High School with top honors in its 18th Annual Bottled Water Label Art Contest at its regular Board of Public Utilities meeting Monday night.
Sofia Goebel from North, and Kristin Counts, who graduated from La Sierra in June both received $250, an enlargement of their label artwork, and a case of water featuring their customized labels. Goebel’s art teacher Vonn Rosser and Counts’ former art teacher Bill Miller were also honored with gift certificates to a local art supply store, and enlargements of their students’ artwork.
Held in conjunction with RPU’s annual “Splash Into Cash” fundraising and support opportunity for junior high and high schools in Riverside, high school art students get a chance to create their first piece of commercial artwork, which adorns bottled water given out to the schools who can use the water to support volunteers or activities groups, or raise funds for sports teams, uniforms and more.
Since 1999, more than 542,300 bottles have been distributed to Riverside schools through the Splash Into Cash program, each featuring the unique designs created by the city’s high school artists.
This year’s winning entries, as well winning label artwork from the past 16 years, can be viewed online here.
Sofia Goebel, front left, a senior at John W. North High School, and Kristin Counts, who graduated from La Sierra High School in June, show off their winning artwork designs in Riverside Public Utilities 18th Annual Bottled Water Label Art Contest. RPU Assistant General Manager Kevin Milligan, left, and Board of Public Utilities members Vice Chair Justin Scott-Coe, Ron Cole, Kevin Foust, Jennifer O’Farrell, David Crohn, and Chair Dave Austin honored this year’s winners at their regular meeting Monday, October 24.
Water bottle label art by Kristin Counts - La Sierra High School
Water bottle label art by Sofia Goebel - John W. North High School
Riverside, Calif. – Sizzling triple digit summer heat is expected to hang around for about a week starting tomorrow and lasting through next Tuesday, and Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is reminding customers to prepare to stay safe, stay cool, and conserve energy when they can to help maintain local and state energy grids.
That means you should set your thermostats to 78 degrees or higher (health permitting); keep those window blinds and/or curtains closed; turn off unneeded lighting, computers, and electronics; and wait until the evening or early morning hours to use appliances like dish and clothes washers.
“These small steps add up to big energy savings system wide when we all pitch in together and do our parts to conserve,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Additional tips that can cut summer energy use but still keep you cool include: cooling off with fans, ceiling fans, and room air conditioners. Don’t have any ceiling fans or room air conditioners? No problem. RPU offers rebates for its electric customers who install qualifying ceiling fans and room air conditioners that can help you save money, save energy, and lower your energy bills. Visit RiversidePublicUtilities.com for complete details or call (951) 826-5485.
Riverside residents are also encouraged to avoid heat-related illnesses by dressing in lightweight clothing, staying hydrated, and avoiding long-term exposure in the sun. The City’s Cooling Centers will also be available to residents looking to escape the heatwave. Log on to the City’s web site at www.RiversideCA.gov for information on how to beat the heat and for a list of all the local Cooling Centers, their hours of operation and rules.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside’s City Council voted Tuesday to follow recommendations by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and its Board of Public Utilities to return to Stage 1 of the city’s Water Conservation Ordinance, which will eliminate mandatory outdoor watering restrictions.
“We are able to return to this level of our water conservation ordinance because of the change in how our water resources are now being calculated by the state, and due to the tremendous efforts that all of Riverside’s water customers put forth to comply with the state’s emergency drought regulations over the past year,” said RPU’s General Manager Girish Balachandran.
The changes in status of the ordinance level means that once mandatory restrictions, like those limiting the number of days that customers could use outdoor irrigation, are now voluntary. “We’ve got the water for our customers to use,” Balachandran said, “but not to waste, never to waste.”
Wise use of water by the city, the utility, and its customers are the reasons Riverside was able to return to this level of its ordinance, Balachandran pointed out. “And it will be through our ongoing wise use and conservation of our resources that will allow us to continue to meet current and future needs.”
To help customers keep usage and water bills low, RPU is continuing to offer several water conservation rebate programs that can offset costs of making homes and businesses water wise inside and out. These include: rebates for installing high efficiency clothes and dish washers; free low-flow sprinkler nozzles; rebates for installing Weather Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs); and the popular water wise landscape program which encourages removal of thirsty turf areas.
Additional changes to the drought ordinance included: new definitions and language updates to match the state’s new regulations; elimination of duplicate standards and language; and clarifications of certain exemptions for gray and recycled water, use of drip irrigation, and splash pads.
Meanwhile, prohibitions by the state on water wasting practices like: watering that causes runoff; washing vehicles without a shutoff valve; washing of sidewalks, roadways, and driveways; and failure to repair leaks are still illegal and can carry fines for failure to comply with conservation rules.
Unreasonable use restrictions are now effective at all times, even without any drought conditions or if any stage of Riverside’s water conservation ordinance is in effect.
For complete details on available programs offered, and for updated information visit RiversidePublicUtilities.com or call (951) 826-5485.