Power Theft: An issue affecting all members

Power theft is on the rise and it’s an issue right here in our own community. Meter tampering to steal power is extremely dangerous, and it is illegal. Power theft alone currently costs the electric utility industry over a billion dollars a year.

As cited in N.C. General Statute § 14-151.1, power theft is defined as “any meter or service entrance found to have been altered, tampered with or bypassed in a manner that would cause such meter to inaccurately measure and register the electricity.” The consequences of this unlawful act can result in significant fines for losses and damages sustained from the tampering, and up to a Class F felony.

Power theft is an expensive, illegal act. Power theft can be minimized if we all do our part. As a member of the Cooperative, your everyday observations can play a vital role in detecting meter tampering and power theft. Below is a list of tampering signs to look for:

  • A broken seal or missing lock on a meter base
  • Foreign objects, unusual wires, or jumper cables in or around the meter and/or meter base
  • Any conversations boasting of stealing, tampering, or diverting power
  • Any home you know to be vacant where there are lights on and/or the air condition/heat pump is running.  Any person working on Union Power meters, meter bases, lines or poles that are not easily identifiable as Union Power employees. All employees wear a uniform and/or carry an identification badge.

Power theft is not a victimless crime; it ultimately increases the cost of electricity to every paying member of the Cooperative. If you notice any signs of meter tampering or power theft, contact the Revenue Protection & Loss Prevention department at 704-220-0707. All information may be given anonymously.