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Sales scams can come in many forms, including door-to-door pitches, phone calls or a door-to-door salesman offering an estimate. Here are just a few of the scams happening in our area.
Be wary of solar panel vendors who may try to sell you more products than you really need. Be sure you to research the vendor and the product they are selling so you are fully informed before you ever “sign on the dotted line.”
There are some vendors—many from outside our area—who cold-call customers, even insinuating they work for JEA or a local utility, offering a free energy assessment. Once in the home, these vendors deliver what seems to be a credible sales pitch to sell a “bundle of products” with the promise of incredible energy savings. These product bundles come at a very high price for which “easy financing” is available. What the vendors do not say is that most of these “extra” products are NOT needed; they only serve to drive up the price and produce more profit for the vendor.
Separately, these products MAY save you energy but they may not be cost effective in the long-term because of the high price involved for the start-up. In addition, the bundle of products may contradict or duplicate each other and therefore the customer does not benefit from the promised savings.
JEA strongly encourages customers to “do their homework.” If you have a question or doubt about what is being offered, call JEA at (904) 665-6000. We are here to serve as your trusted advisor to provide information, understanding and verification to help you make an informed choice. Do not sign anything until you are sure of what you are getting. JEA can offer many alternative options and opportunities for comparison.
Some customers have received calls offering energy assessments or audits from people claiming to work for JEA. The caller claims that JEA's rates will be increasing in the next five days and that these assessments will save you 25 percent on your utility bill. While JEA does offer energy assessments, our assessments are always free. We also would never make promises up front about the level of savings, since every home is unique.
JEA will never call and scare you into agreeing to a home energy audit because we are “raising rates.” While it’s true JEA has proposed a base electric rate adjustment for residential and certain commercial customers, this would not go into effect until April 2024 and still requires approval from our board of directors. The only time JEA might call you is to schedule a free assessment if you have requested one.
Legitimate JEA Assessments
In a legitimate energy audit, a JEA representative wearing a JEA shirt will arrive in a JEA vehicle and carry a JEA badge. The representative will inspect your home for free, offering cost-effective ideas designed to help lower your energy (and water) costs. He or she will not try to sell you anything. If you would like to sign up for a free energy assessment, call us at
(904) 665-6000. Again, you call us asking for this service. We will never call you about these services.
Learn About JEA Energy Assessments
Please call us if you need accurate information about any of JEA products or services or if you’d like us to confirm the name of a JEA employee. If you feel you’ve been targeted by someone making phony claims in JEA’s name, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500 or the State Attorney’s office at (904) 630-2440.
JEA water customers may also be targets of scammers. Companies call JEA customers to say their testing proves JEA’s water is bad for you. Don’t believe them! Our water comes from the pristine Floridan aquifer some 1,000 feet underground, where it’s protected from contaminants by a thick layer of clay. Be careful if the caller offers to test your water for free. Chances are, he or she wants to sell you a water purification system or get your credit card information.
Learn About the Safety of JEA's Water
Some local residents have received marketing emails encouraging them to “green” their power by signing up online with Arcadia Power and other companies, which promise to ensure that a percentage of the customer’s energy will come from renewable energy sources.
Please note these companies are in no way affiliated with JEA. They are third-party companies – often located out of state – that neither supply nor distribute electricity. Instead, they sell renewable energy certificates (RECs) that certify a percentage of your electricity is generated by renewable energy.
JEA customers interested in green power already have that option. Through
JEA’s SolarSmart program, residents can opt to have a percentage of their energy generated by local solar farms without installing solar panels on their home or paying additional fees to third-party, out-of-state companies.
Learn more about SolarSmart
Service Disconnection Scams
In recent months, scammers have called local residents and businesses claiming to be from JEA and threatening to disconnect the customer’s service if a large sum of money isn’t paid within 30 minutes.
Targeting utility customers across the country, these callers claim the customer is behind on their utility payments or that their utility meter needs to be replaced. The customer is then instructed to go to a Winn Dixie, CVS or Walgreens, buy a “MoneyPak” payment card and call them back at the phone number provided with the MoneyPak card information and pin number to prevent their service from being disconnected. Don’t do it!
Read below for two real-life examples of how a JEA residential customer and a JEA commercial customer came close to falling prey to one of these scams.
A scammer came close to fleecing Sandra Martinez out of a lot of money. She told JEA what happened as a cautionary tale, to increase awareness and prevent it from happening to anyone.
“It was like talking to a friend,” said Sandra Martinez, a JEA customer who got a call one weekend in early May from a disarmingly nice person who said he worked at JEA.
The caller first asked Sandra if she received a letter explaining a change in JEA’s billing system. Sandra told him she had not. Then he proceeded to weave a complicated tale.
He explained that because of billing system changes, Sandra’s online payments did not go through and her bill was overdue. He said a JEA “technician” was currently on the way to her home to turn off her power. To prevent this, she needed to go to the nearest Walgreens and make a payment using a “MoneyPak” card.
Sandra thought the call was strange but she agreed to go to Walgreens. “I actually got in my car,” she said. “But before I pulled out of my driveway I called JEA at 665-6000.”
She’s glad she did. JEA’s computerized phone system told her that her bill was up to date. “And then I got someone from JEA on the line. She told me don’t pay anything. It’s a scam.”
Sandra said the scammer called her back about 20 times after that, but she never answered the phone. “I wanted to though. I wanted to tell him, ‘Shame on you. How could you do that to people?’”
Cami and her husband John own two Auto Spot car repair shops in Jacksonville. They pay their bill online and on time every month. Their business cannot function without electricity.
One day, Cami got a call from a man who said he worked at JEA. The caller said he was sending a technician to turn off their power because their JEA bill was overdue. Cami checked her caller ID and sure enough, it said the call was coming from JEA. “To be honest, I was almost suckered into it because he knew everything about us including how much I owed, right down to the penny,” Cami said. “But I knew I had just paid the bill.”
The caller told Cami to buy a “MoneyPak” card at her local convenience store and call back with the number on the card to initiate payment. Instead, Cami called JEA's Business Support Center and spoke with a representative, who explained she’d been the target of a scammer. Cami was so angry, she called back the scammers at the number they gave her.
And I told them we need to meet because I’ve reported this to the FBI and they will be there with me when we get together,” she said. “And they laughed this evil, evil laugh and hung up. It was very creepy.”
Storm Preparation Tip
Make sure your JEA account information is up to date so we can reach you with power restoration updates.