Utility Theft

I don’t usually open the box to see the lateral connection to the meter socket, but in this case I made an exception.

I turned on both AC systems to this million dollar home, circa 2005, in the LA suburbs and was surprised to see both breakers in the off position, while the AC’s were blowing nice cold air, so I pulled the dead front cover.

First I saw the splices, then I followed the conductors. That’s when I decided to pull the cover beneath the meter.

These were long runs of unprotected conductors…




I guess that’s how the rich get richer.:wink:

Interesting. How did you document it?

Chuck: “Improvised and unconventional” comes to mind. :roll:

Aw heck, its only A/C. At least they weren’t taking it from the neighbors house for a grow op. :wink:

I have seen this before for “grow op’s.” This one was done a bit more “professionally.” :smiley:

The funny thing is, the panel and meter socket had pad locks on them when I arrived. The agents took the liberty of cutting the locks for me so that I could inspect the panels…

The circuit wiring for the AC systems has been tapped into the service lateral of the utility company behind or before the meter socket. This means that energy is being illegally acquired for use in the residence. In addition, this tap creates a potential fire hazard where conductors are traveling through the residence without any overcurrent protection. Since this connection has been made to property belonging to the utility company, they should be contacted for corrective action that is necessary. You should also be aware that this is a serious matter, and any homeowner acquiring electricity in this manner may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

Wonder what would have happened if the windings had shorted to ground.

Good thing that the windings hadn’t shorted to ground.


You can see the results of this practice at about the 1 minute mark of this recent news video.

Very well stated. Thank you for sharing.

What I really like about this statement (and pretty much all of Jeff’s report comments that I have seen) is that it is entirely fact based. There is no drama. It doesn’t assume who did it or even that the current owner is knowingly stealing electricity. Yet it makes it clear that the situation must be addressed and that there may be significant liability associated with it.

There is a lot to learn by studying the way someone like Jeff crafts their verbiage.

Thanks Chuck.

I also have become a MB fan of Jeff! Ive learned tons by reading his posts.

Good going Jeff!


Agreed, Jeff is always a pro, has very nice verbage ( I hope you’re OK with us fellow HI’s borrowing it from time to time). Read his posts, he knows his stuff, but doesnt always feel the need to tell you, which i appreciate. I’ll give you an “at a boy Jeff” too.

Jeff’s comments are top notch!

Please allow me to share a couple of pics on the topic from a previous experience a few years ago.

First pic is of the electrical mast from outside, notice the caulk. The second pic was taken inside the house directly behind the electrical mast at caulked area.

When I removed that rag at missing wall covering, I was surprised to see those exposed conductor behind (second pic).

But when the voltage ticker started screaming, I almost had a heart attack just realizing that my fingers almost touched those live wires…:shock:

Play safe,

Everything I post is free for the taking…

Yep I steal his verbiage when he post them or emails them to me and then when I don’t have a narrative and need one I’ll study his narratives in order to craft mine. I have many now thanks to him and many other good people here.

The next question is, who’s responsibility is it to follow up with the Police? In Manitoba I am liable for any illegal activity I see in a home that I don’t report. Did you then call the Police or leave that up to the Realtor?

I regularly come across “illegal activity” during the process of conducting home inspections - drug use, drug cultivation, utility theft, etc… Generally speaking, I do not assume responsibility for reporting “property crimes” to the authorities. I will make exceptions if I deem the instance to be egregious or potentially harmful to others.

On the other hand, on the rare occasion that I am witness to “crimes against persons” (whether during the course of an inspection or not), I will take it upon myself to report what I see and/or intervene when possible.