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Old 08-25-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


I know this is crazy, but I live in a duplex, that at one point was
combined to be a big house, and now it's a duplex again. So the
electricity at one point had 2 meters, then it had one meter, now it
has 2 meters again.

The electrical works perfect, but now I am trying to add another
electrical outlet. However, I found out that my neighbor, who is on a
different electrical meter, is feeding off my neutral wire. He is not
feeding off my hot wire, just the neutral. This has been going on for
over 15 years. I can move the neutral over to his meter, but it will
take me a few hours. As long as he is not feeding off my electricty,
I don't care, What do you think I should do?

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:39 PM   #2
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


Sounds a little strange. Hard to steal power that way. If you can show us some pictures of what you're seeing maybe we can shine some light on it for you.

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


If it is as you say it is, there is no theft of electricity taking place, but it is still a dangerous situation. The neutral could become overloaded, or someone could get hurt working on that circuit.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


I pretty much sided with Inphase277 and KC with the situation there.

If you really want to know if they are stealing it very simple shut off the main breaker and get clamp on ampmeter and check the netrual conductor to see any current going thru if there is then you know may have issue arise allready.

Merci,Marc
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:27 PM   #5
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?
No.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:31 PM   #6
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


How can he use JUST the neutral???
How would you propose to move JUST the neutral???

This whole thing sound weird. I think pics are mandatory on this one. I would want to see exactly what is going on before making any snap calls.

Is this a rental? If it is you should NOT touch ANYTHING to do with the service or electric circuits. Call your landlord.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:33 PM   #7
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


I you have a single service this would not be unusual to double tap in your meter to feed the meter for the other half of the duplex. As long as the hots are line side connections then your meter will not "see" the electrical usage of the other meter.

However if your meter only has the neutral in it from the other duplex and the hots are not in the meter with your neutral and hots this would be odd but still not stealing your electrical.

A picture would help...
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:51 PM   #8
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
I pretty much sided with Inphase277 and KC with the situation there.

If you really want to know if they are stealing it very simple shut off the main breaker and get clamp on ampmeter and check the netrual conductor to see any current going thru if there is then you know may have issue arise allready.

Merci,Marc
I shut off all my electricity from the meter and my meter stopped moving. Therefore, you are right, he's not stealing my electricity.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


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How can he use JUST the neutral???
How would you propose to move JUST the neutral???

This whole thing sound weird. I think pics are mandatory on this one. I would want to see exactly what is going on before making any snap calls.

Is this a rental? If it is you should NOT touch ANYTHING to do with the service or electric circuits. Call your landlord.
This is what happened. My meter and my neighbors meter are right next to each other. I opened up my meter and noticed that I have 6 neutral wires running out. (I should only have 3.) Then I opened my neighbors meter and he had zero neutral wires running out. (He should have 3.) I followed 3 of the neutral wires and it went to his unit. However, to make sure, i disconnected all six of my neutral wires. I then went to his unit and found out that 1/4 of his circuit was dead. However, the other 3/4 are still getting the neutral from somewhere. I don't know where. It's strange because although 3/4 of his circuits are still working, all the neutral from both units are disconnected. I then checked my house and all the electricity was dead. After this I hooked up his 3 neutral wires and all his electricity is back to normal. Then I hooked up my 3 neutrals and all my electricity is back to normal also.

Last edited by stanlam; 08-25-2009 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:31 PM   #10
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


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Originally Posted by stanlam View Post
This is what happened. My meter and my neighbors meter are right next to each other. I opened up my meter and noticed that I have 6 neutral wires running out. (I should only have 3.) Then I opened my neighbors meter and he had zero neutral wires running out. (He should have 3.) I followed 3 of the neutral wires and it went to his unit. However, to make sure, i disconnected all six of my neutral wires. I then went to his unit and found out that 1/4 of his circuit was dead. However, the other 3/4 are still getting the neutral from somewhere. I don't know where. It's strange because although 3/4 of his circuits are still working, all the neutral from both units are disconnected. I then checked my house and all the electricity was dead. After this I hooked up his 3 neutral wires and all his electricity is back to normal. Then I hooked up my 3 neutrals and all my electricity is back to normal also.
Are you serious???
A) You opened and went into the meter pans???
B) You disconnected neutrals and tuned on circuits???

Sir, you have absolutely NO idea what you are doing and you are going to kill yourself and destroy valuable equipment.

PLEASE stop what you are doing and call in a pro if you are convinced something is wrong.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:33 PM   #11
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


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I shut off all my electricity from the meter and my meter stopped moving. Therefore, you are right, he's not stealing my electricity.
Unless he has an outlet or 2 that are connected to your panel. I've seen this scenario several times: One apt had their fridge connected to the other's panel (and with it on their meter). Their electric got cut off due to non-payment of the electric bill.

When they noticed that the fridge still worked, they went out and got lots of extension cords, and power strips, and literally had their entire apt running off the outlet behind the fridge!

Of course, they didn't say anything, since they knew they were getting free electric. Landlord got suspicious when he noticed that their lights stayed on all the time, with a disconnect tag hanging on their electric meter.
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Last edited by kbsparky; 08-25-2009 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:35 PM   #12
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Are you serious???
A) You opened and went into the meter pans???
I'd be willing to bet he opened a load center instead of the actual meter, unless they are combo units.

Quote:
...B) You disconnected neutrals and turned on circuits???

Sir, you have absolutely NO idea what you are doing and you are going to kill yourself and destroy valuable equipment.

PLEASE stop what you are doing and call in a pro if you are convinced something is wrong.
No argument here.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #13
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


Friend you have got a landlord wired duplex cause ain't much of what you just said about all those neutrals entering your meter is likely to be code compliant.

You should have one neutral entering from the service it should be tapped by your neutral and the neutral going to the other meter . No other neutrals should appear in that meter socket. You should have 2 hots and one neutral going to your load center from your meter and the same for the other meter with 2 hots and one neutral between meters. How they did this is up for speculation.

It should look something like this.... and I agree with kbsparky load centers were opened not meter sockets.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 08-25-2009 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #14
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


Quote:
Originally Posted by stanlam View Post
This is what happened. My meter and my neighbors meter are right next to each other. I opened up my meter and noticed that I have 6 neutral wires running out. (I should only have 3.) Then I opened my neighbors meter and he had zero neutral wires running out. (He should have 3.) I followed 3 of the neutral wires and it went to his unit. However, to make sure, i disconnected all six of my neutral wires. I then went to his unit and found out that 1/4 of his circuit was dead. However, the other 3/4 are still getting the neutral from somewhere. I don't know where. It's strange because although 3/4 of his circuits are still working, all the neutral from both units are disconnected. I then checked my house and all the electricity was dead. After this I hooked up his 3 neutral wires and all his electricity is back to normal. Then I hooked up my 3 neutrals and all my electricity is back to normal also.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Are you serious???
A) You opened and went into the meter pans???
B) You disconnected neutrals and tuned on circuits???

Sir, you have absolutely NO idea what you are doing and you are going to kill yourself and destroy valuable equipment.

PLEASE stop what you are doing and call in a pro if you are convinced something is wrong.

I am with SpeedyPete on this matter and this is very serious and it don't take much for anything go wrong in big time.

Our golden rules is we NEVER open up the netrual without shutting off the power source and verify it first due some circuits are mulitwire branch circuits { just search " multiwire branch circuit " } and anything still on can get destoryed pretty fast. { anything on 120 volts can go up much as 240 volts depending on what type of load}

And the meter socket area is pretty much off limited area with DIY's

Merci,Marc
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:43 PM   #15
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my neighbor is using my neutral wire, is he stealing my electricty?


I just went outside to take another look. The electricity from the telephone pole to my meter and my neighbors meter is only 3 wires. That means that the electricity from the telephone pole is 2 hots and 1 neutral. Then the electricity from the telephone poles splits to 2 meters.

I guess my question now is does the meter actually read the neutral wire, or does it just pass right through it? I know that the meter reads both of the hot wires, but the neutral is questionable.

If the meter doesn't read the neutral, then that would explain why this setup has worked for at least 15 years. As I stated earlier, there is only 3 wires from the telephone pole to both of our meters.


Last edited by stanlam; 08-25-2009 at 08:51 PM.
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