LUBBOCK, TX - Lubbock Power and Light reported several cases of meter theft with a motive to hack into someone's electricity and steal their energy.
"There are various different levels of meter tampering that we will witness," Lubbock Power and Light's Matt Rose said. "It doesn't happen a lot but it does happen. We have maybe a few cases that we'll see every month or every quarter."
A local woman, who asked to remain anonymous, contacted EverythingLubbock.com when her meter was stolen. Lubbock Police confirmed other cases of stolen meters across town as well.
The criminal offense is referred to as meter tampering.
LP&L officials said they have found that meters are often stolen to take neighbor's electricity through various ways, or a homeowner will tamper with their own meter to manipulate the system and slow down the meter. Rose said either act is illegal and highly dangerous offense.
"We might see from time to time that individuals wil try to manipulate their meter in order to slow it down, which is very dangerous," Rose said. "It has live electricity flowing through it. So anything you might stick in that meter or anything you might try to dislodge it could put you at grave risk."
An offender would face separate charges against the homeowner for their property and against the City of Lubbock for the meter system, depending on the case.
"If any individual was to come into your backyard and do something to your meter, there would various different offenses that would occur there," Rose said. "One would be attempted or theft of electricity. Another would be destruction of utility and city property, and potentially it would be destruction to the homeowner."
Lubbock Police said these offense would be categorized as criminal mischief. However, in these circumstances, the charges would be increased to state jail felony charges.
"We will go out and we will examine it, take account of the sovereignty and sees what needs to be done," Rose said. "Then it will be reported to the police and they will investigate if charges need to be brought."
Anyone who finds their meter tampered with can call LP&L for further assistance at 775- 2509. If foul play is involved, they will ask Lubbock Police to conduct an investigation.
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