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Stay alert to scams

Scammers increasingly targeting Otter Tail Power Company customers

Otter Tail Power Company is aware of an uptick in scam activity in its service area. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have been taking advantage of heightened anxieties,” said Customer Care Supervisor Collin Kremeier. “It’s very important our customers know that we’ll never pressure them to make immediate payments over the phone or online, especially through services like MoneyPak, MoneyGram, or pre-paid credit cards.”

Kremeier outlines these red flags to help you recognize suspicious contact from a possible scammer:

  • The caller says he or she works for Otter Tail Power Company or a collection agency and your electricity is about to be shut off—even though you know you’ve paid your bill, haven’t received a disconnection notice, or the date on the notice doesn…
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Otter Tail Power Company continues to put employee and community safety first at Astoria Station project site

Otter Tail Power Company’s Astoria Station project is in full swing in Deuel County, South Dakota, where you’ll find approximately 250 people working on site. While the company and contractors are working to ensure everyone is following safety protocols and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, thirteen people working on the Astoria Station project recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“Awareness is critical in helping to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers, and communities,” said Stephanie Hoff, Otter Tail Power Company Director of Communications. “It’s important for the people living, working, and spending time in this area to recognize that this is close to home.”

Mu…

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Otter Tail Power Company continues safe and reliable service

Company working with customers who might be facing financial hardships during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 response

 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued a Stay-at-home Order effective March 27 at midnight through April 10 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The company takes seriously its role as a critical service provider. “Rest assured your Otter Tail Power Company team remains hard at work,” said President Tim Rogelstad. “We value the privilege we have in providing you with safe, reliable electric service always—and certainly through difficult times like these.”

Otter Tail Power Company is working with its customers to individually address specific needs or requests, and is temporarily suspending disconnects and late-payment fees for customers who might be facing finan…

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Watch out for email and phone scams

Scammers targeting Otter Tail Power Company customers

Otter Tail Power Company is aware of recent scam activity in parts of its service area. “Scammers are taking advantage of potentially heightened anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Customer Care Supervisor Collin Kremeier. “It’s important for our customers to know that we’ll never pressure you to make immediate payments, especially through services like MoneyPak, MoneyGram, or pre-paid credit cards.”

Otter Tail Power Company continues to put the health and safety of its employees and customers first—while it continues to maintain reliable electric service in the region. As always, the company is working with its customers to address specific concerns.

Kremeier outlines these red flags if you receive suspicious contact from a possible scammer:

  • The caller says…
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Otter Tail Power Company encourages these tips to stay safe online

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Laptop with WiFi signal

 

Since 2004 National Cyber Security Awareness Month has taken place every October to ensure Internet users have the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. Otter Tail Power Company takes cyber security seriously—for the safety of its employees, customers, shareholders, and the energy grid.

The company provides ongoing cyber security information and training for employees. “We review topics including online safety, secure options for file and information sharing, and best practices to keep our network and mobile devices secure,” said Don Redden, Vice President, Information Technology. “We also discuss recent news about data breaches, keep up on the industry’s latest suggestions for im…

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Stay safe this harvest season

Remember to be vigilant around utility equipment

Photo caption: A farmer outside Fergus Falls, Minnesota, works to finish combining before stormy weather arrives. Photo courtesy of Brause Farms.

As we enter the busy harvest season, Otter Tail Power Company reminds farmers to pay special attention to what’s above their heads and within reach of their machinery while completing harvest work.

“When you’re working long hours or rushing to beat the weather, it’s easy to overlook power lines and related equipment,” says Greg Overland, the company’s Safety Services Manager. “But it’s important to plan ahead and caution employees and family members working with you about potential hazards. Know the size of your machinery. And always remember to check your surroundings—including the areas above your equipment.”

Overland offers these additional tips to help keep everyone safe and productive this harvest season.

  • Use a spotter when moving lar…
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Stay safe. Call before you dig.

Call 811

 

Nice weather frequently brings outdoor construction, yard work, and planting projects. During National Electrical Safety Month, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors that, before digging, they need to notify utilities that have lines or cables buried in the area.

Every digging project—rural or urban, large or small—requires a call to the national 811 One Call center at least 48 hours before any excavation begins. That means calling no later than Wednesday for a weekend project. Dial 811 and you’ll be connected to your state’s One Call center, which will notify the appropriate utility companies.

Be prepared to give the location and start time of your project. The 811 call and the utility locates are free, and professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground li…

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Watch out for email and phone scams

Be aware of email and phone scams

 

Scammers targeting Otter Tail Power Company customers

Otter Tail Power Company is aware of recent scam activity throughout its service area. “Scammers are targeting both our residential customers and business customers,” said Customer Care Supervisor Collin Kremeier. “And they’re increasingly convincing, requiring urgent payments to avoid disconnection. We’ll never pressure you to make immediate payments, especially through services like MoneyPak, MoneyGram, or pre-paid credit cards.”

Kremeier outlines these red flags if you receive suspicious contact from a possible scammer:

  • The caller says he or she works for Otter Tail Power Company or a collection agency and your electricity is about to be shut off—even though you know you’ve paid your bill.
  • The caller references a phony bill date, account nu…
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Otter Tail Power Company celebrates 110 years of serving communities

Service Representative Bernie Marshall (right) talks with Winger, Minnesota, Mayor Darrell Olson.

 

April showers bring May flowers? Deep snow and high winds during this month’s snow storm caused extended outages in the east central part of Otter Tail Power Company’s South Dakota service area, as well as shorter outages in other communities the company serves. Despite difficult weather conditions, once crews could arrive on site they did what company crews have been doing for 110 years—safely and efficiently delivering power.

Since 1909 Otter Tail Power Company has touched the lives of customers by providing reliable electricity and energy services. The company served its first customer—Northern Light Electric Company of Wahpeton, North Dakota—in April 1909. It now provides electricity to more than 132,500 customers in 422 communities.

“We’re proud of our 110 yea…

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Electricity and water don’t mix

 

With warmer temperatures on the horizon and large amounts of snow across much of its service area, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors that electricity and water don’t mix.

High water levels and flooded areas could increase the potential for accidental contact with electricity. Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland advises residents and visitors to the area to stay away from water that may be in contact with any electrical component, such as a pad-mount transformer or a downed power line.

“That includes flooded basements,” says Overland. “Don’t go there if the water level has reached any part of the electrical system, such as electrical outlets or the electrical connections on water heaters, water softeners…

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Otter Tail Power Company urges snowmobiling safety

 

Snowmobiling had its start as a recreational sport in northern Minnesota in 1955, according to the Minnesota Historical Society. In April 1968 Ralph Plaisted of St. Paul, Minnesota, further popularized snowmobiling when he and his expedition reached the North Pole on snowmobiles, being the first mechanized expedition to accomplish such a feat.

No doubt, snowmobiling is a popular activity in Otter Tail Power Company’s service area in west central Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, and northeastern South Dakota.

Most snowmobilers do some riding in road ditches. A lot of right-of-way for electrical facilities borders road ditches, and Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland urges special emphasis on safety. “Watch f…

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Otter Tail Power Company offers tips for buying and using portable electric space heaters

Otter Tail Power Company offers tips for buying and using portable electric space heaters

 

Many people use portable heaters to add warmth to select areas in their homes rather than increase thermostat settings. To help ensure efficiency and safety, Otter Tail Power Company offers these tips for buying and using portable electric space heaters.

  • Don't believe claims of added efficiency on overpriced electric space heaters. All electric space heaters operate at 100 percent efficiency. Because they convert all the electricity they use to heat, they all are equally efficient. “Don’t fall victim to a scam,” says Senior Market Planning Specialist Theresa Drexler. “Electric room heaters that sell for several hundred dollars are not more energy efficient. Portable heaters of equal wattage will …
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Otter Tail Power Company is lighting up the holiday season with LED events

Donate a bag of food for the Food Shelf in exchange for new LED holiday lights

Have you upgraded to light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights? If not, consider making the switch this year. On Wednesday, November 28, and Thursday, November 29, Otter Tail Power Company will host holiday light exchanges in Bemidji and Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Simply bring a bag of non-perishable food in exchange for up to five strings of LED holiday lights. “For some, the hardest part of the holiday season is putting food on the table,” said Otter Tail Power Company Senior Market Planning Specialist Brenda Sandahl. “This event is a great way to impact our neighbors and communities in a meaningful way while aligning with our company’s mission and values.”

LED holiday lights use light-emitting diodes, r…

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October is National Energy Awareness Month

Otter Tail Power Company offers many ways to save through energy efficiency

While every month is energy awareness month at Otter Tail Power Company, this October the company challenges its customers to find new ways to save during National Energy Awareness Month.

Shred your heating bills with a cold-climate heat pump
CCHP
It’s not a furnace. And it’s not an air conditioner. It’s both! A cold-climate heat pump (CCHP) can lower your heating costs considerably and double as a cooling system in the summer. Fact is, it’ll keep your home comfortable whatever the weather.

CCHPs operate at approximately 400% efficiency at 47°F or above, and when temps drop to zero a CCHP can sustain efficiencies of approximately 200% or more. “That means CCHPs deliver two to four units of energy for every one unit of energy consumed,” said Ott…

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May is National Electrical Safety Month

Stay safe and call before you dig

May is National Electrical Safety Month

 

Nice weather frequently brings outdoor construction, yard work, and planting projects. During National Electrical Safety Month, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors to call 811 before digging to prevent unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.

Every digging project—whether rural or urban, large or small—requires a call to the national 811 One Call center at least 48 hours before you start. This means calling no later than Wednesday for a weekend project. When you dial 811, you’ll connect with the state’s One Call center, which will notify the appropriate utility companies. Be prepared to give the location and start time of your dig activities. Each affected utility company will send a professional locator to mark …

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Take these precautions to prevent slips, trips, and falls

Hazard signs

 

As spring approaches, construction, yard work, and spring cleaning soon will be in full swing. Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland encourages customers and neighbors to follow these tips from the National Safety Council to avoid slips, trips, and falls as we become more active with warmer weather.

“Falls are the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, according to the National Safety Council.” said Overland. “When we’re focusing on a task, we may become preoccupied, missing hazards that can cause a fall. Pay special attention to what you’re doing in areas where falls most commonly occur, including doorways, ramps, cluttered walkways, uneven surfaces, areas prone to wetness or spills, unstable work surface…

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UPDATE: Just as Hurricane Irma’s destruction was wide-spread, powerful, and unprecedented—so are response and recovery efforts

OTPCo crews leave for Florida

 

On September 11, at Hurricane Irma’s peak, more than 7.8 million customers were without power in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—leading to one of the largest restoration efforts in United States history. The response to Irma was swift and efficient with more than 60,000 electrical workers from across the country working around the clock to rebuild infrastructure and restore power. As of last night (Wednesday) at 7 p.m., crews already restored more than half of the outages.

As the largest power restoration effort in United States history, the effort requires precise planning and extensive collaboration.

At 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning 22 of our linemen, service representatives, and mechanics left in a convoy for Tampa, Florida, taking …

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We earned Emergency Recovery Award for restoration efforts after Christmas Day storm

storm repair

 

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) presented Otter Tail Power Company with the association’s Emergency Recovery Award for its outstanding restoration efforts after a snow and ice storm hit South Dakota on Christmas Day.

EEI presents the award twice annually to EEI member companies to recognize their extraordinary efforts to restore service to customers after severe weather conditions cause service disruptions. A panel of judges chose the winners following an international nomination process, and EEI presented the awards during their annual convention in Boston.

On Christmas Day freezing rain and high winds hit South Dakota. More than 4,050 of Otter Tail Power Company’s South Dakota customers experienced service disruption due to the storm. The company’s crews endured dangerous …

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Be prepared for summer storms

Water, blanket, radio, flashlight, batteries

 

Unpredictable summer storms can cause electrical outages. To help our customers and neighbors prepare for severe summer weather, Otter Tail Power Company has storm readiness information on our website at otpco.com. The information includes tips for developing a family disaster plan, suggestions for assembling a storm kit, and procedures to follow during a storm. We also suggest that customers follow us on Twitter for updates during significant outages.

Otter Tail Power Company Safety Services Manager Greg Overland advises residents and visitors in the area to keep ahead of storms by listening to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio and by checking weather.com, commercial radio, and television for the latest storm watches (prepare for severe weather conditions), storm warn…

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