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Power Theft Paying the Price of Power Theft


Thieves sometimes think of it as a crime that won’t hurt any- body. Someone illegally hooks into a power supply, hooks up a line that has been discon- nected, or tampers with a meter to avoid recording electricity usage. The truth is that tamper- ing with electrical equipment or attempting to steal electric power carries the potential to harm many people. The inno- cent consumers on the same line and utility personnel that work on those lines are all at risk when someone tampers with electricity or electrical equipment.


An overload of electricity could result in extremely high voltages that may damage the appliances of paying custom- ers. Excessive current that is not safeguarded by a fuse is especially dangerous. In emer- gency situations such as fires, power has to be shut off to help firefighters and emergency


medical personnel to enter a building safely. If lines have been interfered with illegally, the lines could remain ener- gized, endangering the lives of the first responders.


From a reliability standpoint, illegal connections to power sources and attempts to divert metering devices can overload the system, cause interruptions, and compromise power quality. Safe Electricity urges every- one to 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 for any reason. •


Apply for a legal connection if you do not have one. • Remain aware of your sur- roundings and report any suspi- cious activities to your electric utility.


Most electrical theft crimes


occur through meter tamper- ing, bypassing meters, and tapping power lines. Other less frequent crimes include tap- ping into neighboring premises, using illegal lines after being disconnected, self-reconnection without consent, and electrify- ing fences. Possessing fraudu- lent electricity bills is also a federal crime and is punishable by law.


If illegal connections were curbed, more power would be available to consumers who obey the law, power quality and safety would increase, and people would experience fewer service interruptions. Everyone is affected by power theft, and detecting and reporting illegal activity will help reduce the price paid.


For more electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity. org.


CALL KEC OR LOCAL LAW


ENFORCEMENT IF YOU SUSPECT ANY POWER THEFT


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