So how do they steal electricity?

Discussion in 'Homestead Construction' started by Ross, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    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?
     
  2. machinistmike

    machinistmike Well-Known Member

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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.
     

  3. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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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)
     
    dlskidmore likes this.
  4. wharton

    wharton Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  6. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    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
     
  7. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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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/fe/cap/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/smart-takes/smart-meter-hacking-costs-millions-per-year/25434
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywmZjRzjab0[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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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!
     
  9. Pearl B

    Pearl B Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. idigbeets

    idigbeets Well-Known Member

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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...
     
  11. CarolT

    CarolT Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  12. RonM

    RonM Well-Known Member

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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...
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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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.
     
  14. Buzz Killington

    Buzz Killington Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  15. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  16. dlskidmore

    dlskidmore Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  17. wharton

    wharton Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  18. joseph97297

    joseph97297 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  19. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    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...
     
  20. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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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