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Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
PM5K Offline OP
Junior Member
Today we were accused of stealing electricity, I was wondering if anyone can tell me what they do when they turn off the electricity, but don't remove the meter ?

The reason I ask is because if it's remotely difficult or dangerous to turn it back on, I know no one here did it.

They are charging us 25.00, but more importantly they have been rude to us, as if we are thiefs.

Another interesting thing I learned today is realted to this earlier post:

Apparently the guy that came to turn off the electricity was also there that weekend that the above problem occured.

I think something fishy is goind on, I can't imagine it's a coincidence that he was out there when the problem started, not only that but he never did what he was out there to do, turn off the electricity.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 22
I just read the previous post. Check the breaker that feeds the dryer. Look to see if it is halfway tripped. To reset turn off completely then back on. On 220v appliances if one phase (hot lead) is lost then electricity from the other can do strange things like running all over the place.
Look for this and let me know what you find.


Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
I am not going to be an accesory to grand theft voltage, but what they do is remove the meter and put plastic sleeves over the contacts so they will be insolated from making contact. They put the meter back in and no juice for you! It is quite dangerous for someone without knowledge to do.
I went to a service call where some of the house was dead (including half the dryer, lights but no heat) after a little searching, panel service drop etc, I removed the meter and found the plastic sleeves. Turns out they had just moved in and the power was supposed to be turned back on. When the guy came they told him that it is on already and they were all set. He never removed the meter or the sleeves. One plastic sleeve was worn through and allowed the jaws to make contact thereby powering most of the house. When they found some things not working they called me.

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 135
I smell something fishy alright. I just can't tell who is holding the fish.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
Likes: 1
I've learned to take notice of older houses in this area that have a duplex meter base, with one base blanked out. Years ago, the PoCo would give you a seperate meter for your water heater to compete with natural gas. After this fad faded away, many homes were left with duplex meterbases, the W.H. meter being fed from a double-lugged conductor off the load side of the main meter. Which looks terrible... It looks "right" when the W.H. meter is being fed from the second set of lugs on the line side, as designed... but then the water heater is by-passing the main meter and power is getting consumed for free. It's also hot when the main CB or fuse is open, so it's something to look out for.

Don't know if it relates to this situation or not, but it's interesting nonetheless...

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
As the two posts indicate, something IS going on and since the PoCo has issued an opinion (that you're stealing power), you will likely need to go through the standard steps to resolve any mystery, administrative or functional, that remains.

Contact the utility company and ask for the business office supervisor and resolve it above board - i.e., pay the bill or request the service be connected properly and ensure that they have the correct billing information for you (or whomever the mostly unoccupied home belongs to). If the power is to be restored safely it sounds like the company is going to have to be assured that the bills will be paid to their satisfaction. If they have been paid and there's no justification for a disruption in service, you'll probably be on the hook for proving it through your cancelled checks or money order receipts and the follow up documentation resulting from their cashing or depositing them.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
PM5K Offline OP
Junior Member
Thanks for the replies, you really are a helpful bunch.

I just wanted to say that on our part and the electric companies there really were a ton of misunderstandings.

Basically the owners son moved out and they agreed to leave the electricity in his name to avoid deposits and such, since no one would be living there for a while (turned out to be around three or four months) so they figured they would get the bill and just pay it as usual, except getting it from the other mail box.

The trouble began because apparently the son disconnected his service, and for a few months the electric company never sent a bill or said anything, after all no electricity was being consumed.

Finally we came and moved in, apparently the electric co saw some juice being used, the week before we moved in I was in there setting things up, including the fridge etc.

They noticed the usage and someone was supossed to come out on the 12th to turn it off.

That's where it gets fishy.

The electricity was never off, and if stealing the electricity would require opening the panel where the meter is, no one here would have done that, because none of us have enough knowledge on how to (I wouldn't even know what to use to connect them) but we have enough knowledge to know that there is enough voltage running through there to fry our asses from here to enternity.

Coincidentally (or not) that is the same time that the electrical problems I linked to above started to happen.

Also the guy that removed the meter never said that we were stealing electricity, he said the guy that came before to disconnect it didn't do it right ?

My main concern right now isn't the 430 we need to reconnect it, those are reasonable fees, and 20 or 25 is no big deal for supossedly stealing electricity.

What I am curious is if this guy could have done something to cause the electrical problems we have, or is it possible that when the meter is put back in the problem will be solved.

Is it possible to screw up closing off the meter ?

From one of the above posts it sounds like it might be possible to do it wrong and cause electrical problems like we are having in the house.


Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 36
PM5K, I recommend that if you have something in the area you live in such as a Home Depot or other large building "supermarket", please check out the "do it yourself books" for a beginner's guide to home wiring. However, I'm definitely stating that you NOT even consider fixing your problem yourself. You seem astute and courious enough for a non-electrical type. These beginner's books can often enlighten and eventually allow some homeowners to safely replace their plugs and switches. In your case, you could, in simple terms, learn how a house is typically wiring and probably satisfy some of your curiosity.

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