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metersMost people would never think of tampering with their meter or stealing power. However, some electric utility consumers occasionally connect their electric service without authorization, or try to bypass their meter. This type of tampering drives up electrical costs and is punishable under the law.

The law defines theft of utility service as a first-degree misdemeanor if the value of the stolen electricity, plus any utility equipment repair, is under $150. It’s a fourth-degree felony if the value is more than $150.

Tampering crimes carry similar penalties. It is defined as “to interfere with, damage, or bypass a utility meter, conduit, or attachment with intent to impede the correct registration of a meter of the proper function of a conduit or attachment.”

If you are convicted of tampering it can mean six months in jail and a $1,000 fine up to five years in jail and a $2,500 fine. Perhaps worse than the punishment is the risk of injury. Attempts to alter an electric meter can result in shock, fire, explosion, or electrocution. Even if the thief doesn’t get hurt, the tampered meter is usually left in such condition as to be a potential danger to others.

Meter tampering costs all of us and it’s dangerous. If you witness someone tampering with an electric meter, please contact us.

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