NOTE: This article has been updated since it was first published in You can also reference the most current article from our January issue. You may have heard about someone who has tried to rig an electric meter to divert electricity to some other location. That person committed a crime. And whoever uses stolen electricity also commits a crime.
If prosecuted, the crime can carry stiff fines and jail time. North Carolina's electric cooperatives track down people who deliberately tamper with electric meters to steal electricity. Co-ops encounter cases in which consumers interfere with the operation of a meter or jump power to elsewhere to lower or avoid paying electric bills. Other cases involve attempts to reconnect to the electricity distribution system after a co-op performs a disconnection for some reason.
According to the Cooperative Research Network, a division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, power surging through a compromised meter can cause an electrical catastrophe. A short circuit could produce an arc flash bright enough to cause blindness and powerful enough to launch fragments of red-hot debris like shrapnel. Meter tampering often causes serious injury or death from electrocution, explosion or fire.
Only trained electric cooperative personnel wearing personal protective equipment should work on meters, Greer said. With an arc flash, somebody could get killed or seriously maimed. Electricity theft is not a victimless crime. Your not-for-profit co-op loses revenue and spends time and money to investigate tampering.
These costs are then passed on to the entire membership. The AMI system [advanced metering infrastructure] sends an alert anytime an account has an unexpected usage on which further investigation is required. Upon further investigation, if we find that meter tampering has occurred, then we immediately disconnect the account, require the individual to come into the office, and that individual is required to pay their balance down to zero.
They also pay an additional security deposit. Based upon the circumstances, Rutherford EMC may prosecute the individual. North Carolina law specifically prohibits altering, tampering with and bypassing electric meters. Anyone who uses power from an altered meter violates the same law. Both the person in whose name the meter is installed, and the persons using the electricity, may be liable.
It's also illegal for an unauthorized person to reconnect a meter after the utility has disconnected it. It's also illegal to alter or remove a load management device that your utility has installed, unless you've asked the utility in writing to remove it and the utility has not removed it within two working days. These activities do not apply to licensed contractors performing their usual services within recognized standards.
Share Tweet Share Pin Email. David May 20, reply. Select a Different Cooperative.This is electricity theft and can lead to a fine or prison sentence. Meddling with something as dangerous as mains electricity is a very big risk. If you suspect electricity theft anywhere report it anonymously. Electricity is dangerous. It risks shocks and burns to anyone using them and can start fires that endanger everyone in the building. Exposed wires and connections can get so hot that they start fires.
This puts innocent lives at risk as well as destroying property, endangering everyone in the house and often neighbours or colleagues too. Tampering with electricity meters to save money is extremely dangerous. The first signs can be shocks from switches and burns from appliances, but sudden fires and even explosions are possible too, putting you and your family in real danger.
Meter cheating can take many forms, even smart meters can be unsafe if tampered with. Some of these are shown below, so look out for them. From families trying to save a little money to landlords renting potential death traps and greedy business-owners; we hear stories of energy theft across the country every day. They are stealing from us all. The consequences of energy theft are severe.
Who makes a light switch lethal?
Watch this report based on true stories and read more here. Students in rented accommodation are at risk of being taken advantage of by rogue landlords committing energy fraud. Who makes a light switch lethal? It costs lives. Electricity can be dangerous: Know the risks.
This is not a victimless crime.Electricity theft increases costs for customers. To promote a safer, fairer market for consumers, we have created rules for energy companies that require them play an active role in detecting, investigating and preventing the theft of electricity.
We have also supported the industry's development of a new code of practice to establish minimum standards for theft investigations. If you need advice or help and support on an energy matter, you can also contact the Citizens Advice Service:.
Electricity theft. Report the theft anonymously using the stayenergysafe website. Publications and updates RSS Feed. Published: 10th Jul Tackling electricity theft — new requirements for electricity suppliers. Published: 7th May This letter sets out our decision on proposed modifications to the electricity supply standard licence conditions SLCs under Section 11A 2 of the Electricity Actas well as our intention to publish a direction to require electricity suppliers to Tackling electricity theft — the way forward.
Published: 4th Mar Closed: 2nd Apr Consultations and responses, Decisions. This document sets out our final proposals in relation to reforming the regulatory framework to increase electricity theft detection, investigation and prevention. Following on from this consultation, we decided to publish a statutory consultation to introduce a new standard electricity supply licence condition and a consultation to direct the implementation of the Theft Risk Assessment Service TRAS.
Tackling electricity theft - Consultation. Published: 3rd Jul Closed: 28th Aug Consultations and responses. This document sets out and seeks views on our policy proposals to improve the arrangements for tackling electricity theft.
Decision on the criteria for authorising the disposal of electricity meters under Schedule 6, Paragraph 6 and Schedule 7, Paragraph 11 of the Electricity Act Published: 2nd Nov This document sets out our decision and the related general authorisation to dispose of electricity meters under Schedule 6, Paragraph 6 and Schedule 7, Paragraph 11 of the Electricity Act Electricity top-up prepayment PPM fraud.
Published: 11th Apr Open letters and correspondence.Theft of electricity is the criminal practice of stealing electrical power. It belongs to the non-technical losses. There are various types of electrical power theft, including Tapping a line or bypassing the energy meter.
The various types of electrical power theft include:. What's known as "cable hooking" is the most used method. The consumer taps into a power line from a point ahead of the energy meter. This energy consumption is unmeasured and procured with or without switches.
In this method, the input terminal and output terminal of the energy meter is bridged, preventing the energy from registering in the energy meter. Meters are manipulated via a remote by installing a circuit inside the meter so that the meter can be slowed down at any time.
This kind of modification can evade external inspection attempts because the meter is always correct unless the remote is turned on. This type of tampering is done to electromechanical meters with a rotating element. Foreign material is placed inside the meter to obstruct the free movement of the disc. A slower rotating disk signals less energy consumption.
This type of tampering is done on electronic meter to make it either latent damage or permanent damage. Detection can be done correctly in high end meters only. A number of approaches to detect electricity theft have been proposed. The predominant direction in research and development is employing artificial intelligenceand in particular machine learning methodsto detect customers that steal electricity. Katiyabaaz Powerlessa Indian documentary filmdealt with issue of power theft in the city of KanpurUttar Pradesh.
On March 27, it was reported that electricity espionage was accomplished by unscrupulous persons tapping into Edison Electricity in New York. The Superintendent of the power station sent a power surge into the line to burn out or destroy foreign objects trespassing on the line.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.Username or Email Address. Remember Me. Spanish version. Someone illegally hooks into a power supply, hooks up a line that has been disconnected, or tampers with a meter to avoid recording electricity usage.
Legitimate electricity consumers do not engage in these behaviors, so the impact of electricity theft — including the danger— is often unrecognized.
Advice needed- electric meter bypassed.
Power theft carries deadly risks. Many thieves pay for the power they steal with their lives. Electricity theft is not just dangerous for those who steal. If you are on the same power line as someone who steals electricity, you could pay the cost for their theft too.
The power line could become overloaded with electric energy, which could harm your electronics and appliances designed to receive a certain steady amount of electricity. Electricity theft makes power service less reliable and lower quality for paying customers.
Electricity thieves may also unknowingly feed energy back into the power line. This is dangerous for lineman, who may assume the power line they are working on is de-energized.
Most electrical theft crimes occur through meter tampering, bypassing meters, and tapping power lines. Other less frequent crimes include tapping into neighboring premises, using illegal lines after disconnection, self-reconnection without consent, and electrifying fences.
Possessing fraudulent electricity bills is also a federal crime and is punishable by law. Everyone is affected by power theft, and detecting and reporting illegal activity will help reduce the price we all pay. Paying the Price of Power Theft. Safe Electricity reminds that everyone can help prevent and reduce power theft: Notify your electric utility immediately if you know of an illegally connected consumer.
Do not cut the seal on your meter base or tamper with your own meter. Apply for a legal connection if you do not have one. Remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activities to your electric utility.June 29th,Published in Articles: Vector. Tampering with municipal prepaid meters is a serious problem in South Africa today.ELECTRICITY THEFT DETECTION AT YOUR HOME- HOW TO IDENTIFY
Millions of rand is lost every day due to the theft of electricity by homeowners and tenants who have tampered with their pre-paid meters.
In Nelson Mandela Bay alone, one in every seven households is believed to have tampered with its prepaid electricity meter in the last financial year. In the case of a prepaid meter, the meter will be removed, and the supply disconnected.
The user will be issued a tamper notification. In the case of credit meters, these will be replaced with new electronic meters, which are sealed units to prevent further tampering with the internal wiring. Does BCMM remove the tamper bridge wires in the base or must the user get an electrical contractor to do this?
When the meter or the meter base is tampered with, a BCMM inspector, technician or electrician will remove the tamper — usually bridge wires in the base of the meter. In most cases, when the meter has been tampered with and the contact pins bridged, the meter will be removed.
When the base is bridged, BCMM will remove the bridge wires and reinstate the wiring to its normal state. If the supply main incoming service cable is tampered with, the user will have to contract an electrical contractor to remove the tamper or illegal wiring, and to issue a Certificate of Compliance CoC to certify that the supply is safe and complies with the law and wiring regulations.
Does the user then have to supply a CoC and, if so, what must be covered by the CoC?
A CoC is only required when the supply main service cable before the meter has been tampered with, when the base plate has been damaged by the tampering or when there is a loose connection caused by interfering with the base plate connections.
The CoC ensures that the prepaid meter is safe to be reconnected. A CoC will also be required when the supply cable must be rerouted directly into the base plate. In the past, the supply cable would have been routed through the distribution board and end-users would have had easy access to the main supply to bypass the meter. Once the payment has been made in full and all the required documents such as the CoC and any other required legal documentation are received, the end-user can expect a turnaround time of 48 hours two work days.
However, in most cases, power will be restored on the same day or the following work day. The BCMM Revenue Protection Section employs a team working seven days a week to remove illegal connections from affected areas and the network.
The main focus is usually on areas without power supply and where emergency repairs must be done to restore the supply. In addition, there is a programme in place to remove illegal installations in all affected areas. Switch To Mobile Version. Basic Search Advanced search options Archives. EE Publishers. The repercussions of tampering with prepaid electricity meters.
Read our cookies policy. Household Bills. About the site. MSE's Editorial Code. How we're financed. Martin's blog. New Post. Go to Category. Grabbit while you can It's Gone, but was it any good? I won! Coronavirus: The latest from MSE The MSE team is working extremely hard to keep the info we have about your travel rights, cancellation rights, sick pay and more up to date. I need some advice on this please, I have no idea what to do about it and am absolutely petrified about what might happen.
I returned to my property last week after it had been rented out to a 'friend' in order to get it ready for a new tenant only to find the the electric meter had been bypassed. I have now got a new meter for my new tenant but in the process of British gas changing the meter they've obviously found out that it had been bypassed in the first place.
I know that it is my responsibility to check these things and that I've been incredibly naive and way too trusting, but I honestly had no idea what was going on and now British Gas have told me that the police will be chasing me and that I could end up in prison. I can't afford to get a criminal record due to the nature of my job. Has anybody experienced this or does anyone know what I should do?
If you've done nothing criminal, no reason to get a record.
Whats the punishment for stealing electric?
This is an open forum, anyone can post and I just did! I don't have a contact address for this person. We parted on bad terms with her owing me a fair amount of money and she has since moved to Spain.
I don't even know where her family live, so would have no way of contacting her. That makes things more difficult, do you have a copy of her tenancy agreement?