Bangor Hydro/Maine Public Service work with law enforcement to prosecute in utility thefts
March 28, 2013 - TRC - By Susan E. Faloon, Communications Supervisor
Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service announced today at a media conference they are actively working to stem the problem of theft of services and copper theft with the assistance of more than a dozen law enforcement agencies in eastern and northern Maine.
“Theft of services is a problem that has been plaguing electric utilities for a number of years,” said Gerry Chasse, President and COO of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service. “Theft of services occurs when customers tamper with company equipment in an effort to divert electricity illegally so they don’t have to pay for it. It also occurs when people steal copper or other equipment from our poles and substations.”
In the last year, 23 charges have been filed for theft of services or equipment by Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service. Charges in these cases can range from class E misdemeanors to class B felonies. The utilities, with the help of law enforcement agencies, have uncovered more than $48,000 in stolen electricity in the past six months. More than $15,000 in restitution has been ordered as well as fines and jail time.
“It is very important that we address this issue because it represents a danger to the public and our employees, and it costs other customers money. In a number of incidents around the country people stealing copper from substations have died or suffered severe electrical burns. It’s that dangerous and it’s just not worth it,” Chasse said.
Anyone with information about meter tampering or other tampering of electric utility equipment is asked to call their local law enforcement agency.
NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.