And with some meters if you plug it in backwards, it runs backwards.
Their software would flag an existing customer with extreme variations in
usage as this could indicate a problem with equipment requiring a look but a
new customer might go unnoticed with unlikely usage. Steal enough
electricity and it becomes a Felony.
Indoor pot farmers are often busted either by the electric usage pattern or
by causing fires while ignoring electrical code. Narcing neighbors too.
These gro-ops are a landlord's nighmare. Growing pot requires a lot
of water that the plants then transpire. That results in high
humidity and condensation on the walls, etc. There will be structural
damage to the house, especially in houses that are built in localities
with a long winter. Furthermore the chemicals used in the gro-op and
along with the drug by-products will contaminate the house. A police
bust will have it condemned as unfit for human habitation. That house
will be a total loss and insurance won't pay for that.
In Virginia, it is pretty easy. My house had aluminum wiring, and I
replaced the whole electrical system with copper. Anyways, there is a
security seal at the bottom of the meter box. When it is removed, a
cover hinges up and the Glass meter can be pulled straight out. Then
you will be looking at 4 prongs. The top two prongs go to the power
pole. The bottom two go to the hous circut breaker box. (I had to
replace this wire to the breaker box in my house). Anyways, you could
jump the prongs rather easily with copper wire. It would help if you
knew when the meter reader was coming around so you could place the
glass meter back in. If you took the time with the security seal, the
reader would probably never notice it....he just takes the numbers down
and move to the next house.
There are lots of times work is done on hot systems. Many precautions need
to be done but essentially wearing the correct protective equipment
(gloves, isolation mats, etc...) presents a pretty safe environment. How
do you think those guys working on the high voltage power distribution lines
do it? They certainly don't shut the line down for some routine
maintenance (depends on the maintenance I suppose). Personally, I wouldn't
want to do it but that's why those guys make the money they do.
From a helicopter.
I used to live right across the road from a 750KV transmission line, and
watched them doing maintenance several times. Really awesome to watch. I have
a lot of respect for both the electrician *and* the pilot.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Its called a Faraday cage. Basically the workers suit up in a chain
mail suit, not unlike the under armor of the middle ages. The metal then
acts as a conductor of any induced currents, keeping them away from any
path thru the body of the worker. They reach out with a long metal rod
to touch the wire as the chopper brings them close to equalize the charges.
First, build a mud wall at least a foot high all around the meter and
fill it with salt water. Wash your hands thoroughly in the salt water
and keep them wet. Stand in the pool while working on the meter.
Actually, both legs are hot. Each leg is 110v, so together you get 220v
service. The third leg goes straigt to the circuit panel and that is
the return, so for 110v, you are using one of the legs and the return.
Anyways, if your jumper is plastic sheilded you would be alright, or if
you wear ruber or leather gloves. Another very common senario is that
theives steel the glass meter from a vacant property. Then they simply
swap meters. The stolen meter would be used for two to three weeks, and
then swapped again until the meter reader comes by. This way all the
time that electricity is being used while the stolen meter is inplace,
is not being charged to the occupyer. If one does that for 15 to 22
days a month, it results in in 50% to 75% of the electrical usage not
appearing on his bill.
Over the past year all the homes in my town (Central Mass.) have been
converted over to digital meters with some type of Tough
plexiglass/plastic cover. I haven't seen a meter reader since. Also
the literature I saw on the new meters stated that they were not only
for metering service but for regulating so if there were some problem
it would be identified. I am not sure what the "problems" could be
(tapping service) or how it would phone home with an issue, just send a
signal over the line?
Certainly tampering is one form of "problem" new digital meters are
designed to detect. Almost any service issue can be detected, the
level in your case would be, it would all depend on the level of
sophistication of the particular meter design/manufacturer they went
to. Unbalanced legs, low voltage, off-frequency, many neutral or
ground problems all can be detected. Most of these use a wireless
network or proprietary transmission protocol connection and either they
use a mobile receiver and drive around to various locations to collect
data from an area or have collection "stations" that then forward the
data back to central office.
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