DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My daughter lives in a Condo and we are suspecting her electricity is been stolen by one of her neighbors. Another neighbor caught someone turning off her meter 2 months ago. Her bill has doubled since then which is very interesting because she is away 12 hours a day and just about turns off (or lowers) the electrical usage at that time. The electric company said they could only check the accuracy of her meter. So here's my question: "Should we hire someone to look into this and could an electrician detect a theft if there is one since he cannot go into the adjacent condos?"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
The POCO should be able to determine who has had a marked and recent decrease in their meter readings.

If they are unresponsive, hire an Electrician to investigate.

But.........The first thing that I would do is turn off the main breaker for the unit and check the meter. If it is a-moving, someone is a-stealing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,194 Posts
You would need to tap into her lines somewhere. The suspects would be the apartments closest to the meter and the ones surrounding her condo. The meter area would be hard to do as you would see wires where there should be none. The meter readers would see that.
Has the electric rates changed recently?
Only caveat about shutting off the power is that if it's being tapped into through a wall it also shuts off the stolen line. It will only work if the power is being tapped between the meter and her panel.
Ron
 

·
Experienced goon
Joined
·
57 Posts
You could unplug everything in the apt: Refrig, clocks, electronics that draw low 'vampire' power, everything. If the meter is still turning, you've got an issue. Then, start turning off breakers to until the meter stops moving... When it does, you've found your tap line. And then you go and call the po po.
 

·
I have gas!
Joined
·
2,339 Posts
"Another neighbor caught someone turning off her meter 2 months ago." This sounds like it might be tapped before her panel.
Start by turning off the main breaker and see if the meter turns. If not then do what jpelzer suggested.
 

·
Learning by Doing
Joined
·
3,156 Posts
If someone is going to the effort of covertly stealing power you should call the local police department. Ask for a community liaison officer or neighborhood detective. In some areas of the country this is REAL enough a problem that police departments have established protocols for this.

I had a client who was battling an outrageously high electric bill with the POCO (250x normal). The POCO was not interested in investigating, they just wanted him to pay the bill. Got the police involved - turns out a neighbor was running a hydroponic grow operation and needed more juice... and he wasn't growing tomatoes.

Needless to say, this is not the sort of person you want to go up against without some Authoritative help. Worst thing that happens is the police tell you they won't help.

Good luck.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
Leah is spot on...stealing electricity, water, cable etc is fairly easy for the authorities to prosecute. It's odd that the PoCo wouldn't come out and visually inspect the meter area...they would be able to spot something out of the ordinary very easily. If nothing else have them come out and check the accuracy of the meter...'least that will be out of the equation.
 

·
Learning by Doing
Joined
·
3,156 Posts
20 years ago you might have been laughed out of the precinct, but the case I mentioned was 10 years ago.

- In Portland, Oregon, we would see these types of issues - sometimes as simple as an extension cord plugged into a rarely used outside outlet that ran, mysteriously, into the neighbors garage.

- And here in Farm Country, I have a FOAF who had a skyrocketing electric bill at one of his pump sights. Someone tapped off it with romex and was using it to power his RV camp in the nearby woods.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
I rural locations around the state, many would tap the water line before and after the meter and steal water from the rural water supplier. The two taps would still register usage, but only half or so went through the meter. The service guys would stand there with a digital camera, more recently cell phones documenting the theft, AND calling the county sheriff. With out leaving the scene of the crime the thief could not make alterations, the evidence would be undisputed when confirmed by the Sheriff or Deputy and documented with different but the same photos. Case closed...fine issued, estimated cost of water stolen (always inflated) and in the case of repeat offenders some got a day or two in jail.

So a take home for the OP...with out disturbing anything...it may be worth take a few pictures.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,990 Posts
Not to give anyone ideas, but. . .

a farmer had power lines going over his property so he wound a big loop of wire on the ground, thereby making a huge air-core transformer.
PoCo knew they had a leak but they had a devil of a time finding it. Probably the coil was not in plain sight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,124 Posts
Electricity Theft; how to find the culprit

As many other posters have suggested the easiest way to find the culprit, who knowingly or otherwise taps into their neighbor's Electric meter is to shut off the main breaker to the apartment. And whoever complains about the lights not working is the ONE! However, there could --in some cases-- be an "innocent" explanation for running lights and appliances on someone else's meter! I've seen it in some Multi-Level apartments (more accurately "Split-level") where the plans were changed in midstream. In other words, what started out as the upper level of the First floor ended up as the Lower level of the Second floor. But the wiring was left as in the original plan. :no::yes::furious:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,802 Posts
20 years ago you might have been laughed out of the precinct, but the case I mentioned was 10 years ago.

- In Portland, Oregon, we would see these types of issues - sometimes as simple as an extension cord plugged into a rarely used outside outlet that ran, mysteriously, into the neighbors garage.

- And here in Farm Country, I have a FOAF who had a skyrocketing electric bill at one of his pump sights. Someone tapped off it with romex and was using it to power his RV camp in the nearby woods.
what is a FOAF?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,288 Posts
>>> I prefer to manage people my own way ...

Wouldn't the landlord (or all owners aka the association in the case of a condo. or co-op) have some responsibility from that time forward after the problem was called to his (their) attention if tapping into someone else's electrical line between the meter and the subscriber's premises were done?
 

·
Learning by Doing
Joined
·
3,156 Posts
Allan J may be on the right track. OP's daughter should read her condo association by-laws they may be responsible for 'outside' areas, etc. A careful reading of the rules and or a call to the association president would be very useful.

Gary gets the prize for recognizing my web-speak.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top