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BC Hydro Goes After Pot Power Thieves To Recover $2.1 Million

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
BC Hydro is pursuing 19 civil claims through the courts to recover about $2.1 million in diverted power, electricity the utility says was stolen in large part by illegal marijuana-growing operations.

In the past three years, Hydro has launched 24 such civil suits, said Hydro official Simi Heer, recovering about $5 million from persons who have stolen electricity.

Heer said the money has been recovered through either litigation or from out-of-court settlements.

"There are also a number of cases where we are preparing for litigation but have not yet filed in court," said Heer.

In all cases, the thefts were associated with illegal marijuana-growing operations, she said.

BC Hydro claims British Columbia's illegal marijuana industry steals a staggering $100 million worth of electricity each year. In January, Hydro received $99,003.35 from one customer whose power had been shut off last November. The invoice was paid in full before litigation began.

For those who don't pay, Hydro can register judgments against their property, garnish bank accounts, seize property or ask the court to hold defendants in contempt for ignoring court orders, Heer said.

Last year in Langley, the RCMP raided a marijuana-growing operation they believe had been in business for four years. Officers allegedly found three stolen Hydro meters, equipment and 35 pounds of packaged marijuana.

BC Hydro estimated it had lost $171,000 from power theft during that time and sued the three persons associated with the property for the money. It also turned off the power to a home and a number of outbuildings on the property. Earlier this month, one of the defendants in the civil action, who claims not to have been involved in stealing electricity, asked the B.C. Supreme Court to order Hydro to turn the lights back on.

Hydro had "arbitrarily and maliciously" disconnected electrical services to his residence in breach of the contract of service he had with Hydro, the defendant claimed.

The court decided the petitioner would have to stay in the dark as it lacked the jurisdiction to make such an order, accepting Hydro's position that reconnecting the power was a matter between the defendant, BC Hydro and the B.C. Utilities Commission.

"BC Hydro estimates that its legitimate customers bear over $100 million per year in unnecessary energy costs to make up for electricity stolen by marijuana grow ops," she said.

"The problem has been increasing over the last few years as both the amount of electricity being stolen and the value of each kilowatt hour has increased."

For example, in this fiscal year, Hydro issued invoices totalling $6.3 million to customers for confirmed thefts "shut down as a result of our investigations," a 142-percent increase from 2007, when such invoices amounted to just $2.6 million.

"We are currently experiencing a trend toward larger, more sophisticated and dangerous electricity thefts across the province," said Heer.

Hydro, however, is banking on technology to turn the tide.

Its contentious smart-metering program -a $1-billion scheme to replace all existing meters with ones that will transmit data using low power radio frequencies -will help Hydro quickly identify unexplained electricity loss once introduced, said Heer.

"This will help protect crews and the public from the serious safety hazards created by electricity theft, including fires, exposure to live high voltage and premature transformer failures."


NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: vancouversun.com
Author: Gerry Bellett
Copyright: 2011 Postmedia Network Inc
Contact: Contact Us - Vancouver Sun
Website: BC Hydro goes after pot power thieves to recover $2.1 million
 

willoby

New Member
If power wasn't sooo darn expensive and they didn't allow so many unexplained rate hikes a few times a year, anywhere from 9-20%, people wouldn't be so upset and might feel bad about the power companies losses....Although I'm speaking from the state of Nevada, I'm sure its the same all over the world....Nevada power has a monopoly on the state and we have no other sources to buy power from a competitor...Or we can just go with solar or wind, with an average start up cost on a single family home starting about 35-40,000 dollars to live off the grid..Even then, you pay Nevada Power a service fee of 8 bucks a month...They still get money...Who can afford to start up solar or wind power?? Not many at this day in age...Blah Blah Blah, sorry about my rant, I just don't feel that bad about them giving back a little!!!
(Remember folks, this is just an opinion....Don't take it to heart!):thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

slojoe

New Member
:MoreNutes:it does not suprise me! i live in the u.s and energy prices for gas + electric are going thru the roof and i do believe they are under invesgation as i write this. i wonder how much profit they made on all the growers who paid for their electric?
 
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