OTTAWA -- Hydro Ottawa says it will not disconnect hydro to homes and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, after receiving approximately 200 reports over the weekend of suspicious calls threatening to turn off the lights.

In a statement, the utility says “in light of continued reports of phone scams in the Ottawa area over the weekend and today, Hydro Ottawa reminds customers to protect themselves from callers posing as utility representatives and threatening to disconnect power.”

The utility offers tips to stay safe:

  • Never make a payment for a charge that isn’t listed on your most recent bill
  • Ignore text messages or emails with suspicious links promising refunds
  • Don’t call the number provided to you. Instead, call Hydro Ottawa directly at 613-738-6400 to check the status of your account
  • Do not provide any personal information or details about your account
  • If you feel threatened in any way, contact 911 or the Ottawa Police Service

Hydro Ottawa President and CEO Bryce Conrad says Hydro Ottawa has been working with the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Ministry of Energy to address customer concerns about managing electricity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario extended the ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers until July 31. Hydro Ottawa says it extended the ban to all customers, including small businesses, as of March 18.

“To be clear, there will be no disconnection of power to anyone as our city wrestles with the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Conrad in a statement.

“I encourage our customers to be vigilant and to protect themselves from these sophisticated scams by following our tips and reaching out to us directly.”

Hydro Ottawa is offering flexible payment options and financial assistance programs that include emergency relief.