CPI is offering FREE Smart Power Strips at our offices

The Smart Power Strip is an infrared and motion sensing strip that reduces power consumption of home entertainment centers by shutting off power to the main device (television) and other controlled devices (gaming systems, DVD players, entertainment systems).

You can get a free Smart Power Strip from CPI and cut waste and save around $30 a year! Come visit us at either our Philomath or Lebanon office to get one for your home today.

Avoiding financial scams

By Lisa Hughes-Daniel

We like to think we can’t be duped by financial scams, but according to a recent survey of adults ages 40 and older, the numbers say otherwise. The survey found that eight in 10 adults received some type of fraudulent offer, and 11 percent lost a substantial amount of money in a scam. Surprisingly, 40 percent of people did not recognize the warning signs of a financial scam.

Although senior citizens are targeted slightly more often by fraudulent schemes, anyone can fall victim. Scams work when people forget an important axiom: What seems too good to be true almost always is. The methods used to part you from your hard-earned money are varied and always changing, but three of the most common include:

  • Online “phishing.” An email you receive from what looks like a known, trustworthy website asks you to respond with confidential information such as a credit card number, banking number, personal identification number (PIN) or Social Security number. Clicking links in the email can also install malware, or malicious software, on your computer. Both methods can aid criminals in stealing your identity.
  • Phone or in-person solicitations. Callers or visitors may make attractive offers that guarantee you will receive large amounts of money—after you provide sensitive information or pay an up-front fee. Others pose as government officials demanding payments (sometimes with false caller IDs).
  • Investment offers. Promises of unusually high investment returns with little to no risk should always raise a red flag.

 

How can you protect yourself? Be diligent in keeping personal and financial information private, and maintain a sense of skepticism when conducting business with new contacts. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Tread carefully online. If you receive unsolicited emails or click on pop-up windows, understand these can be run by phishers. Never send personal information electronically unless you’re making a purchase from a website you trust or opening a secure online account with an institution you’ve chosen to contact.
  • Establish who you’re dealing with. Before sharing personal information or making a payment, get a salesperson’s name, company name, physical address (not a P.O. Box), phone number and business license number. Research the entity on your own, inspecting its website and checking with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Take your time. A legitimate business or government agency will not push you into making an immediate decision or payment. Scam artists capitalize on the fear of “missing out,” or when making fake threats, they pressure you into a quick decision.
  • Be cautious about certain methods of payment. Wiring money is equivalent to sending cash—and it’s often untraceable. Likewise, revealing that a scammer’s check is bad can take weeks. Make purchases with a credit card that allows you to dispute fraudulent charges.
  • Nothing is free. Beware of door-to-door salespeople in general—including those who offer medical products that are “free” when you provide your Medicare or other insurance information.

For more tips and information on financial fraud, visit:

  • ftc.gov (FTC help line: 877-FTC-HELP)
  • finra.org (investment fraud)
  • ncoa.org (scams targeting seniors)

Source: “Financial Fraud and Fraud Susceptibility in the United States,” FINRA Investor Education Foundation, 2013.

  

Lisa Hughes-Daniel is a marketing communications consultant who writes and edits employee benefits-related materials for the Insurance & Financial Services Department of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Safety Matters

Although seemingly innocent enough, putting signs or other items on utility poles creates serious safety hazards. Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs as well as the signs themselves, pose dangers to line workers who must climb poles when either restoring power following storms or while performing routine maintenance to ensure system reliability.

The nails and tacks left behind from signs can snag utility workers gloves and sleeves that they wear to work on high voltage lines and puncture the safety clothing making line workers vulnerable to electrocution.

Posters or other objects (birdhouses, balloons, flags, and even basketball nets) can also create dangerous obstacles as they themselves or the objects left behind from hanging them can cause problems for line workers.

Thank you for following these safety tips and helping to keep our CPI linemen safe!

Beware of Billing Scams

There have been increased incidences of scams targeting utility customers across the United States.

The scams generally involve attempts to illegally obtain payments for fictitious utility bills.

Individuals impersonating utility company representatives or collection agency personnel are utilizing a variety of techniques to gain access to customer’s funds, usually by indicating a customer has an outstanding debt and is about to immediately lose service.

If you ever receive a phone call like this, do not give any personal information over the phone. Always call CPI to verify. Reach us at 541-929-3124.

8-1-1 Gets Underground Utilities Located

Building a deck? Planting a tree? Installing a mailbox?

811 is the number you should call before you begin any digging project.

People often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines.

Dial 811 before every digging job gets your underground utility lines marked for free and helps prevent undesired consequences.

CPI Joins with Northwest RiverPartners for Hydropower Education Effort

In recognition of the tremendous value of the Columbia and Snake River System, CPI is partnering with a regional effort to educate people about the multiple benefits the rivers provide to the region’s economy.  An informational “CleanHydro” campaign features a new website, fact-based materials, two television ads and print ads. CPI is joining other utilities and users of the region’s rivers on the campaign, which is being coordinated by Northwest RiverPartners, an organization of river users with members in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

For information on the CleanHydro campaign, visit www.cleanhydro.com

Public opinion research shows a lack of understanding of the river system’s value to the Northwest’s economy. Many Northwest residents believe wind and solar technologies produce a much higher percentage of power than what is accurate. Younger generations know very little about the Columbia and Snake River System’s positive contributions. For example, surveys show that Northwest residents believe hydropower comprises 42 percent of the region’s power, while they think wind and solar combine for 11 percent. In reality, hydropower produces 60 percent of the region’s electricity, while solar and wind produce 4 percent. And in the Northwest, hydropower provides 90 percent of the region’s renewable energy.

“We are launching this effort to educate people that a great deal of important commerce flows from our Northwest rivers,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council and also a co-chair of the CleanHydro campaign. “The fact that hydropower is the region’s premier renewable energy source is a compelling story to share,” Corwin added.

Examples of facts and benefits from the campaign:

  • Agriculture: Northwest rivers irrigate 7.8 million acres of farmland each year. Annual net earned income from Northwest agriculture production exceeds $8 billion.
  • Commerce: Over 50 million tons of commercial cargo, valued at over $20 billion, is moved down the Columbia and Snake Rivers annually. The Northwest is the nation’s number one exporter of wheat, barley and paper products. The Northwest river system provides over 100,000 jobs to the region.
  • Clean air: Barges on Northwest rivers keep 700,000 trucks off the highways each year. Because hydropower produces no carbon emissions, the Northwest’s carbon footprint is half that of other parts of the country.
  • Renewable: Hydropower provides nearly 90 percent of the Northwest’s renewable energy.
  • Energy: Northwest dams provide nearly 60 percent of the region’s electricity. It would take two nuclear, three coal-fired, or six gas-fired power plants to replace the average annual power produced by the four lower Snake River dams.
  • Flexible and reliable: Because the rivers are always flowing in the Northwest, hydropower is also used as a tool to back up intermittent generators such as wind or solar. Hydro generation can be quickly adjusted to follow changes in wind production and keep the transmission system reliable.
  • Flood control: Prior to the federal dams on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, Portland and other cities were subject to severe flooding. Controlling flood waters became a high priority in 1948 when Vanport, Oregon, was destroyed in a late spring deluge. A 1964 treaty with Canada led to the development of millions of acre-feet of water storage for flood control and power generation. Estimates show that flood control operations in February 1996 saved $3.2 billion to the Portland metropolitan area in what otherwise would have been devastating flood damage.
  • Recreation: The reservoirs formed by dams provide Northwest residents with abundant waterways for boating, fishing, water-related sports and cruises. Tourism from river cruise ships alone brings $15 to $20 million annually to local Northwest economies.

About Northwest RiverPartners: Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of over 120 farmers, utilities, ports and small and large businesses that relies on and promotes the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and fish and wildlife policies and programs based on sound science. RiverPartners’ member organizations represent more than four million electric utility customers, 40,000 farmers and thousands of port employees that provide hundreds of thousands of Northwest jobs.

For information on the CleanHydro campaign, visit www.cleanhydro.com

Celebrating 75 Years of Serving the Northwest

One incredible river gave the Pacific Northwest the power to do magnificent things… all at the flip of a switch.

On August 20, 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Bonneville Project Act to deliver the massive benefits of Columbia River hydropower—clean, inexpensive electricity—to citizens of the Pacific Northwest.

In less than five minutes, watch how the Columbia River’s raw power helped save a nation and transform a region in Ode to the Columbia.

Learn more about BPA’s history at http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/About_BPA/75th/ and watch a series of videos of BPA’ history http://www.bpa.gov/news/AboutUs/75thAnniversary/Pages/Videos.aspx