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  #1  
Old 04/22/12, 12:05 PM
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So how do they steal electricity?

Grow ops I mean. I'm looking for ways to spot a grow op and (preferably) prevent one in a rental or at least stop it very early. I'm guessing there might be a way to spot a meter bypass?

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  #2  
Old 04/22/12, 12:32 PM
 
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I'd say looking for any leads pulling electric before the meter would be a pretty safe bet of electric theft. Have you tried calling the electric company to ask them about it. They can probably start monitoring metered use to see if larger than normal amounts of electric are being used for the # of people living in the home. I'm sure a visit by the local po po would make the renters rethink their grow location. Use your nose(literally), if you smell what might be a skunks rearend I would say you have a grow operation going on.

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  #3  
Old 04/22/12, 02:29 PM
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Some power companies can do a "leak test" to see where your house loses heat.

An INFRARED camera will show any hot spots.
Some Police Depts and Fire Depts have them too, as well as "FLIR"
(Forward Looking Infrared Radar)

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  #4  
Old 04/22/12, 03:33 PM
 
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A local power co. engineer just told me that the new metering system they use will report a discrepancy between power leaving the closest transformer and the amount metered at the house. So, in our local utitlity area, the ability to "steal" power is pretty limited. BTW, if you really want to see big brother in all of this monitoring, the cable repair guy just told me that he did a call to an elderly neighbor who had been hospitalized for a long time. The company knew that his internet had not beeen used for over six weeks, and they wanted to see if there still was a customer at the home.

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  #5  
Old 04/22/12, 03:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
Some power companies can do a "leak test" to see where your house loses heat.

An INFRARED camera will show any hot spots.
Some Police Depts and Fire Depts have them too, as well as "FLIR"
(Forward Looking Infrared Radar)
I think you're missing the intent of the post......he's wanting to spot an indoor pot growing operation using LOTS of stolen power to run the grow lights.

Ross:

There are several ways to do it, but it comes down to some type of connection on the power company side of the meter, which may, or may not be all that obvious.....there are dozens of different types of meter bases, most of which are specifically designed to prohibit entry of this type, but some can be by-passed easier than others.

OR

As a neighbor of mine once did: He got a bunch of the wire/plastic "seals" they put on the lock ring around the glass meter housing, so he would simply cut the old seal, remove the lock ring and remove the meter, then install it upside down for part of the month, then reverse it in time to "catch up", so as he put it "they wouldn't owe me a check" (ahahahaha). The old analog meters would run backwards if flipped over. The newer meters, not.

The power company caught him finally, and took out the meter. Not to be slowed up, he took an insulated pair of pliers and stuck a couple of large nails between the lugs the meter would normally stick in, and kept right on watching TV ! They eventually caught that too, and took the WHOLE LINE down to his house.
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  #6  
Old 04/22/12, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
I think you're missing the intent of the post......he's wanting to spot an indoor pot growing operation using LOTS of stolen power to run the grow lights.
Nope, I didn't miss a thing

Those grow lights generate a lot of HEAT, which can be seen with the intruments I mentioned

That's how the Police find them all the time
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  #7  
Old 04/22/12, 08:12 PM
 
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two copper pipes flattened or wires and stuck in the meter housing

some meters have a built in bypass for changing out the meter so the customer does not loose power, when the change out occurs,

Illegal Connection | Home Inspection Nightmares XVI | Photos | Home & Real Estate | This Old House

http://images.pennnet.com/articles/f...cap_150273.jpg

Meter with a bypass built in, but it must be open to activate the bypass,
murray, meters, rh173grf


and I read the other day that the new smart meters are now being hacked
http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smar...per-year/25434

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  #8  
Old 04/22/12, 11:26 PM
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I have a friend with a FLIR camera so thats a thought, but really by then its too late. There's no immediate problem I'm just trying to think of a way to completely deter the activity in the future. We have smart meters here BTW. I thought about having a monthly inspection clause in the lease but that's intrusive and I'm told likely not legal. (although a landlord can enter with 24 hours notice here so I'm wondering why I can't have scheduled inspections......) Even if I don't actually follow through it would be in bold letters so anyone looking to rent should expect problems having a room full of pot!! Too bad there isn't a pot detector like a smoke detector!

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  #9  
Old 04/23/12, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
I have a friend with a FLIR camera so thats a thought, but really by then its too late. There's no immediate problem I'm just trying to think of a way to completely deter the activity in the future. We have smart meters here BTW. I thought about having a monthly inspection clause in the lease but that's intrusive and I'm told likely not legal. (although a landlord can enter with 24 hours notice here so I'm wondering why I can't have scheduled inspections......) Even if I don't actually follow through it would be in bold letters so anyone looking to rent should expect problems having a room full of pot!! Too bad there isn't a pot detector like a smoke detector!
I dont know what Canadian laws are, if you can do a scheduled inspection, Im sure that would deter anyone trying to run a for profit grow operation. No one is going to want to move a large amount of product and equipment around.
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  #10  
Old 04/23/12, 06:54 AM
 
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Put a clause in there that you can inspect with 24 hours notice. If you have smart meters the elec. co should be able to monitor their power loss/usage.

And obviously do due diligence when renting out a home... Use the FLIR if you really want too, but that's illegal and probably won't show you much as homes lose heat for all kinds of reasons.

Plus a room built within a room won't leak heat in a way that will show up on FLIR.. you Canadians are crafty...

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Old 04/23/12, 02:04 PM
 
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In AL, they can seize the property where the pot is growing, so I wouldn't be asking for help unless they would guarantee my property wasn't at risk.

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  #12  
Old 04/23/12, 03:56 PM
 
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Climb a pole and reverse polarity in the middle of the month, however you only get one chance to make a mistake...

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  #13  
Old 04/23/12, 05:14 PM
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My trade is HVAC so I'm pretty sure I could vent a room of extreme heat if i wanted to. So if I can they can. Thing is if your rental is turned into a grow op the house is basically destroyed. Yeah I can insure against and its even reasonable, but that due diligence thing IS my way of thinking.

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  #14  
Old 04/25/12, 12:26 PM
 
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Living in the emerald triangle, this is obviously a big problem. I agree with them's what say the only way you're going to catch this is by regular inspections - for whatever reason is convenient, and by good vetting of tenants.

IMHO, the bigger worry is the mickey mouse wiring that's done *inside* the house. You start putting a bunch of those big lights on a single old circuit and poof, goodbye house. The cleverer sorts will divert from other circuits with the sketchiest of designs.

The only way you're going to catch that is by being inside.

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  #15  
Old 04/25/12, 01:23 PM
 
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The power company should be able to pick up on a grow operation by the schedule of power usage since lights are turned on and off at regular times each day. That's got to be a huge jump in usage each day when the lights come on.

I don't understand why growers don't just build pole barns but then I don't understand why pot is still illegal.

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  #16  
Old 04/25/12, 02:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
My trade is HVAC so I'm pretty sure I could vent a room of extreme heat if i wanted to. So if I can they can.
Sure, but the vent itself is a brightly burning candle on the infrared image. Lots of insulation will prevent heat leakage, part of why many of these things are in basements.

My great grandfather stole power. He lived next to high voltage wires, and he put a giant coil up in his attic. The magnetic waves generated by the AC in the high voltage wires washed over the coil and generated electricity. The power company yelled at him, and he said they should keep their magnetic waves out of his attic. The family story doesn't say what happened in the end.

Nowadays the wires are paired in such a way as to reduce the size of the magnetic field, which cuts down on energy loss over the lines.
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  #17  
Old 04/25/12, 05:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RonM View Post
Climb a pole and reverse polarity in the middle of the month, however you only get one chance to make a mistake...
AC electrical systems have no polarity. Switching phase wires does nothing, swaping a neutral and a phase can be your last move before the coroner takes a look. Old fashion meters can run backwards, if the power flows in the other direction, or if the meter is removed and flipped upside down. As I have pointed out on another thread here, pulling a meter can result in a fatal explosion. I have seen it simulated by a test dummy, it ain't pretty.
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  #18  
Old 04/27/12, 05:42 AM
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Two doors down from us, the man living there had the power company come out and unhook his line from the transformer since they were moving the anchor point to put up new soffet and a metal roof. They did put up new soffet and metal roof, but since his line came through the attic then traveled to the meter, he decided that since the power was off, he would wire him an accessory panel up in the attic prior to the meter.

Been that way for as long as I know. He keeps a few things on the original lines so he gets a bill, but last I talked to him, the a/c and elec oven and WH are all on that accessory line.

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  #19  
Old 05/01/12, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
Nope, I didn't miss a thing

Those grow lights generate a lot of HEAT, which can be seen with the intruments I mentioned

That's how the Police find them all the time
depends on the size of the setup. If its a big one your right. If its small, then they might use florescent or LEDs instead. Just like many gardeners use the same for starting plants...
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Old 05/02/12, 02:50 PM
 
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We farmed some ground that had high voltage power lines running through it. When ever you parked under it with a pickup that had a long whip antennae on it and you touched it you get a jolt that felt like 110. There were signs on every tower that it was illegal to have any type of apparatus within 40 feet of a tower.

Bob

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  #21  
Old 05/02/12, 07:35 PM
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Y'all need to educate yourselves to the politics of contraband. The illegality of marijuana is a huge conspiracy born in the 30's by the Hearst syndicate, Big Pharmaceuticals and the head of what had been the federal agency responsible for policing Prohibition. The US Constitution is written on hemp paper. See "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", fascinating read. We criminalize half a million folks a year, keep the Trial Lawyers busy and have to continue generating reams of misinformation about the herb.
Just a few "Facts" from "expert" testimony before Congress in 1937, prior to the enactment of the Marijuana Tax Act are these gems: "...as we all know, Marijuana is the cause of Jazz" and "...smoking marijuana makes white women want to have sex with NEGROES!!!..." scary stuff, indeed. Just say know about drugs...

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  #22  
Old 05/02/12, 08:51 PM
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Well the potential problem is that growing it indoors ruins a house and that's a problem I'd like to avoid. Having the police bust down the doors (at that point) just aides with the demolition! A better question might have been how to screen potential tenants but I could see where that question would go!!

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  #23  
Old 05/03/12, 09:27 PM
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Hi Ross,

check this link to the Landlord Tenant act in Ontario

I think you can use the 'inspection for repairs' as a way to see if there is anything being grown

Responsibilities of Landlords, Residential Tenancies Act, Ontario, Part III

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  #24  
Old 05/06/12, 12:04 PM
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I saw a Holmes on Holmes a while back where this ladies property was used by squatters as a grow house. They drilled through the foundation and tapped straight into the main power line before it hit the house. So they were tapping pure power, extremely dangerous. The bad side at least in the part of Canada they were in was that if the service they tap into is in the homeowners name the homeowner is responsible for any stolen energy the power company estimates was stolen. The electrician that came in stated the fine could hit upwards of $50,000.00 Canadian in some cases, even when the homeowner is completely ignorant of what is happening.

Teg

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  #25  
Old 05/07/12, 09:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
The power company should be able to pick up on a grow operation by the schedule of power usage since lights are turned on and off at regular times each day. That's got to be a huge jump in usage each day when the lights come on.

I don't understand why growers don't just build pole barns but then I don't understand why pot is still illegal.
Maybe they stagger the cycles---25% lit then another 25% and so on, so's they all aren't running at the same time. Their weeds might not know any better.
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  #26  
Old 05/12/12, 01:05 PM
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Pot growers don't have to be stealing electricity. A friend had a rental property at the end of a dead end road in the country. The tenant installed a propane powered whole house generator to run the grow lights. The propane company thought he was heating the house with propane when he was heating with electricity so no larger than normal usage.

The tenant changed the locks and wouldn't answer the door when my friend came out. This prevented my friend from discovering the grow operation. It also saved his but when the cops busted the tenant. The cops couldn't prove that my friend knew about the operation. If they cound have proved he knew, he could have been charged with conspiricy and growing pot. He could have spent a long time in jail and they could have taken the house.

Your answer starts with screening tenants. If you charge them for the screening most of the bad ones will decline to pay for a report they know is bad. This can be circumvented if one member of the gang still has good references. They will rent the house then have their buddies move in.

I would state in the lease that you can inspect at random with no notice. If you have to give notice they will have time to remove the operation. Put a clause in the lease that limits the number of people that can live in the house and puts a cap on how many nights a month visitors can sleep over.

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  #27  
Old 07/19/12, 05:31 PM
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I'm sorry for bringing up an old post but I got to say something. In Ontario a landlord has a right (even if it isn't specified in the lease) to enter the property for inspection once a year with 24hrs notice. They can also enter if they have a reasonable belief something is wrong or damaged as long as they give the 24hrs notice. The only time 24hrs notice isn't required is if you believe the tenant or someone inside is in need of immediate help or there is an emergency like flooding, gas leak, etc. You also must provide at least 24hrs notice of any work being done that either requires access to the unit or risks a possible disconnection of a vital service (gas, power, water, etc) unless its an emergency. The tenant can freely allow the landlord access without notice but they can't be equipped to unless its an emergency. Also if either a tenant or landlord has served notice of intent to vacate, then the landlord can enter to inspect, repair & show the unit to contractors or perspective tenants on 24hrs notice.

Those are the rules, follow them & your butts protected in court, break them & you're sure to lose, possibly a lot of money. Oh & the reason your lawyer said you couldn't do monthly inspections is because the courts would view that as an unreasonable intrusion on the tenants right of privacy & reasonable enjoyment.

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  #28  
Old 07/26/12, 03:13 PM
 
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We just got a letter from Duke Power telling me we were not using enough electricity in one of our Cabins! We had shut the main breaker off since the Cabin is just used for storage right now. We only turn on the lights when we are up there moving stuff around. I had to send them a letter and ask 'em not to shut the power off!

A man was arrested right down the road from here with a huge inside pot growing operation. I did not know him but neighbors said the power company reported him to the police for a huge electric bill.

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  #29  
Old 07/26/12, 06:06 PM
 
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spotting grow houses

my friend had a house in N Cali and when you went to collect the rent the kitchen and living room looked 100% normal but in fact it turned out to be one of the biggest grow operations in that county. I went out there to help him rehab the house after it was busted and the cops there left aboout 3 ounces of weed on the floor and all over the place. there was a $6000 dollar electric bill for 1 month on the kitchen counter. We rehabed the house which was a complete gut job and rebuild now he raised the rent and rents it electric paid so he knows when the light bill raises and can use the reason of electrical inspection as a legit reason.I might say that there is a clause about therenter must pay anything over the average usage for that house the next month it seems like a win win deal for him to me. Also it is a good idea to know how your renter gets his rent money if your renter has no verifiable job then your greed to get the rent money is probably going to cost you in the end

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