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Electric bill phone scam continues in state; NPPD warns customers not to fall for demands

Nebraska Public Power District officials are keeping a watchful eye on continued attempts by individuals contacting utility customers and businesses demanding that they pay their electric bill or face shutoff within 20 minutes.

On Monday, NPPD reported that the phone scam was occurring in Norfolk and based upon past history, other communities across the state could be targeted within the next few weeks. “Once the public recognizes the ploy, the scammers will take advantage of another community in the state. We expect similar calls may begin occurring in some of our retail communities such as Kearney and Scottsbluff, but this deceitful scheme may not be isolated to just larger communities,” said NPPD’s Customer Care Business Manager Robyn Tweedy.

The individuals, posing as representatives of the power company, will tell the customer that they are overdue on their electric bill and must pay up within 20 minutes or be disconnected. They are then instructed to purchase pre-paid cards in order to make immediate payment.

Tweedy said that several local businesses in the Norfolk area were unfortunate victims of the deception with the calls coming at busy times of the company’s operation

“NPPD does not do business this way,” said Tweedy. “If a customer is overdue on their electric bill and subject to disconnection, it will be printed on their monthly bill with instructions on what they can do to settle the account. They should call the number printed on the bill, not the phone number of the individual making the phone request.”

The malicious practice is not affecting NPPD alone. It has happened in other states with other utilities, and has occurred in Nebraska several times in the past, as recently as last year. If an individual or business not served by NPPD receives a call demanding payment on their electric bill, they are encouraged to contact their local electric provider to check on their account before making any attempt to pay.

Any customers that receive such a call should not attempt to make a payment and contact local law enforcement and NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) to report the request.

 

Electrical pole fire quickly contained

SHORTLY AFTER 3 PM ON MONDAY APRIL 6TH, THE VALENTINE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT RECEIVED A CALL ABOUT AN ELECTRICAL POLE BURNING BY MILE MARKER 210 OFF HIGHWAY 20. CREWS QUICKLY ARRIVED ON SCENE AND WAITED FOR KBR RURAL POWER TO ARRIVE AS THERE WERE LIVE WIRES WHICH SPARKED A SMALL BLAZE ON THE GROUND. THE FIRE WAS CONTAINED AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT RETURNED TO THE BARN WITHIN APPROXIMATELY 35 MINUTES.

 

 

Work to Begin on N-12 Near Naper

Weather permitting, construction work is scheduled to begin the week of April 13 on N-12, beginning at the west edge of Butte and extending 21.4 miles to the Boyd-Keya Paha county line 8 miles west of Naper, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.

Knife River Corporation DBA Knife River Midwest of Sioux City, Iowa, has the $3,544,320 contract for milling and four-inch asphaltic concrete overlay east of Naper and the $1,014,278 contract for milling and two-inch asphaltic concrete overlay west of Naper. In addition to asphalt work, guardrail will be replaced.

Traffic will be maintained during construction with the use of flaggers and a pilot car.

The load width will be restricted to 11 feet during construction of the project. The asphalt portion of the work is anticipated to be completed early in July.

The Department of Roads' project engineer is H. Gene Colfack of O'Neill. Motorists are urged to use caution while driving through highway work zones and to remember that speeding fines are doubled when workers are present.

   

Firefighters contain Saturday morning fire north of Johnstown to 1 hay bale

A Saturday morning fire in a hay bale north of Johnstown during extreme fire danger conditions prompted the response of the Ainsworth and Johnstown Volunteer Fire departments.

At just after 10 a.m. Saturday, a hay bale was reported on fire three miles north of Johnstown near Norden Avenue on property owned by the Klammer Brothers.

Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala said exhaust from a vehicle ignited a hay bale that was being loaded onto a truck.

Fiala said the Johnstown firefighters had the fire contained to the hay bale by the time Ainsworth firefighters arrived on scene. He said the Ainsworth department assisted in unrolling the bale and extinguishing the flames.

The loss was contained to the one hay bale, which was owned by Royce Greder. Fiala said firefighters were on scene for about 45 minutes Saturday.

Winds gusted to more than 25 mph Saturday and the National Weather Service placed the area in a fire weather warning. Fiala said he was relieved the departments were able to keep the fire from spreading.

The entire KBR area remains under a burn ban until conditions improve. Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday.

 

Work To Begin on US-183, South of the Niobrara River in Brown County

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin the week of April 13 on US-183 starting at Reference Post 198.43 and ending at the Brown-Keya Paha county line, Reference Post 207.15, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.

Werner Construction, Inc., of Hastings, Nebraska, has the $4,604,211 contract for the 8.72-mile project, which will include widening the roadway from 12-foot to 14-foot driving lanes. Work will include culvert extensions, flume installation and new cable guardrail, as well as repair on the Bone Creek Bridge near Keller State Park.

Traffic will be maintained during construction with use of flaggers and a pilot car. Work is anticipated to be completed in October. The Department of Roads’ project manager is Michael Rudnick of Ainsworth. Motorists are reminded to drive cautiously through highway construction zones

   

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