My Neighbor is Stealing Electricity

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Old 04-13-10, 06:21 AM
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My Neighbor is Stealing Electricity

My neighbor has had no electricity for two weeks. Early on, he was spotted with an extension cord in my outside outlet (it is a condominium complex). I called the police, he admitted what he did and I let it go. I realize he may have been plugging in while we were at work or overnight but my meter is 5 times as high as normal and I have ten days left before the bill comes out. My question is how is he doing it? Is there any way other than plugging into an outside outlet? I have neighbors on the lookout during the day and we check periodically at night for extension cords running into my outlets. Is there a way other than using the outlets? Is there something else I should be looking for?
 
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Old 04-13-10, 06:29 AM
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There are other methods to acquire electric besides the exterior receptacles, but will not be discussed here.

I would advise you to call the power company and get them involved to investigate.
 
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Old 04-13-10, 06:36 AM
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I did contact my local utility. They told me they don't get involved in theft from one neighbor to another; only theft from a pole. She said it was a police matter. I wish I knew what to look for.
 
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Old 04-13-10, 06:45 AM
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For the time being turn off electricity to your outside receptacles.

Jim

 
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Old 04-13-10, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SherryD333 View Post
My neighbor has had no electricity for two weeks. Early on, he was spotted with an extension cord in my outside outlet (it is a condominium complex). I called the police, he admitted what he did and I let it go. I realize he may have been plugging in while we were at work or overnight but my meter is 5 times as high as normal and I have ten days left before the bill comes out. My question is how is he doing it? Is there any way other than plugging into an outside outlet? I have neighbors on the lookout during the day and we check periodically at night for extension cords running into my outlets. Is there a way other than using the outlets? Is there something else I should be looking for?
Does your condo share a common wall with his?
 
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Old 04-13-10, 08:13 AM
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You can try turning everything off and see if the meter slows to almost zero. If not, switch your breakers off one at a time and determine which one/s is/are still drawing power. Once identified, then your choice is to catch him or prevent him. Leaving those breakers off will stop the extra charges. But bringing in a police officer and demonstrating what you have found would be a step towards catching him. Having an electrician confirm your test would add to the credibility of your claim.

Bud
 
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Old 04-13-10, 08:44 AM
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There are other causes for a high bill like a failing element in a water heater, a fridge going bad or a faulty cable, but it would be a remarkable coincidence to happen in the same month as a known power theft.

If you share a common attic, basement wall or utility area with the neighbor it would be possible for him to steal power there without your knowledge. Bud's recommendation of watching the meter while you flip breakers is a good one. You might be able to identify circuits that are using a lot of power. With the main breaker off your meter wheel should not be spinning.

Do you really mean 5 times normal? That seems very high even for a theft. Using an outdoor receptacle at maximum capacity 24/7 for 14 days would only add about $50-60 to the typical electric bill (500 kWh). If you suspect the theft was only at night or workdays you're looking at half that.
 
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Old 04-13-10, 07:08 PM
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Do you have a condo association? Once proven, they would be interested in knowing about the theft.

How do you know your meter is 5 times as high?

(The power company doesn't care who pays for the electricity, just that they get paid for the electricity used.)
 
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