Stay Safe From Utility Scammers

Many electric, water and natural gas customers throughout the country are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day.  Scammers typically use phone, in-person, or online tactics to target customers.  Raising awareness and educating customers about scams is Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) top priority.  UUAS will continue to help spread awareness of the suspicious behaviors and the evolving tactics that scammers use to target customers.  It is important that customers call OPU at 507-451-2480 to check the status of their accounts if they are ever unsure about the authenticity of a caller or the identify of a service worker, or if they suspect any fraudulent activity.

For more information, visit the UUAS’ website.  

Mylar Ballons and Power Lines

If you celebrate with metallic balloons, remember to keep them tethered at all times and dispose of them properly. Proper handling and disposal keeps them from drifting into power lines and causing a power outage.

When a metallic balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment, it can cause a surge of electricity that short circuits equipment and can lead to power outages, fires, and possible injuries.

To reduce these types of incidences, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to a weight.
  • Never release a metallic balloon outdoors.
  • When no longer in use, puncture and deflate the balloons before creatively reusing or disposing of them.
  • If a balloon or another toy becomes entangled in an overhead power line, do not attempt to retrieve it. Call OPU for assistance.

Always assume power lines are live, and keep yourself and all other items at least 10 feet away from power lines.  Click on the image in the upper left corner to watch what happens when a metallic balloon contacts a power line.  For other videos, click here.

(Information for this article obtained from