Report Power Theft
CVEC purchases more than $54 million in wholesale energy annually. Of that, we lose about 6-7 percent of the energy on the distribution lines between CVEC substations and the members’ meters. National utility data tells us that 3-4 percent of that is attributable to “line loss” where energy dissipates due to heating or inefficiencies along the 4500 miles of distribution line.
That leaves a possible 2-3 percent of the $54 million of wholesale energy purchased annually being lost due to current diversion, where members have found a way to bypass or to defeat the meter on their home or business. While CVEC is constantly working to reduce the amount of line loss, the Co-op is activating an enhanced Loss Prevention Program to reduce the amount of energy that is lost due to theft. The program will help CVEC identify the location on the distribution system where a member has bypassed the meter to avoid paying for energy.
There are three important reasons to reduce current diversion.
- Current diversion involves tapping into the CVEC service lines and bypassing the meter. This act is dangerous and potentially fatal. It jeopardizes the safety of the misguided member during the diversion effort and puts others at risk who may happen upon the bypass wiring at a later date.
- The theft of electricity is unfair to other members. CVEC was formed to allow rural citizens to purchase wholesale energy and have it delivered where no for-profit utility wished to serve. The premise of the Cooperative is that all members pay their fair share, and current diversion shifts costs to other members.
- It is illegal. When CVEC discovers the theft of electricity, the member is responsible for the costs, penalties, and the energy usage as determined by the Co-op. In addition, it is a chargeable offense and CVEC will work with law enforcement personnel to investigate whenever current diversion is discovered. It is potentially a felony depending on the amount of power stolen.
While this is a difficult subject, CVEC is committed to reducing energy theft as a matter of safety and fairness between members. Your Co-op thanks you in advance for your assistance in reducing the cost of energy for all members. Help us where you can and advise your friends and neighbors that current diversion is unfair at best, illegal, and can be deadly.
CVEC has a number of ways to detect current diversion. One of the low-tech methods is for CVEC to inspect meter seals. CVEC service people attach a small wire ring that has a plastic lock to the meter base and CVEC employees are the only ones authorized to break the seal. Please alert CVEC if your meter seal is broken so that we can replace it. According to CVEC’s Terms and Conditions, anyone cutting the seal to enter the meter base is guilty of meter tampering.
- No persons, other than CVEC employees, are authorized to cut the meter seal on a service, or to disconnect the meter. This restriction includes both electricians/contractors and homeowners.
- If a service needs to be disconnected for a breaker change out, a CVEC meter technician or serviceman will be sent at no charge. The electrician/contractor or homeowner should call CVEC to arrange the service.
- If the meter seal is cut by an electrician/contractor or homeowner, CVEC will remove the meter and send it into CVEC for testing.
- If an electrician/contractor or homeowner reconnects themselves after they have been disconnected, the service will be disconnected from the transformer or the transformer disconnected, and the meter will be removed.
- In either situation, the member will be charged fees.