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Thread: Stealing power?

  1. #1
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    Default Stealing power?

    So what...were they shutting off the metered 100A main??

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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    So what...were they shutting off the metered 100A main??
    Because that is a Zinsco panel and they probably could not get the breakers out - so they just like it there and by-passed it with new feeders going to new service equipment ... ???

    Is that overhead service or underground? I.e., are those feeders leaving the meter to new service equipment or are they underground service laterals feeding the meter (in which case, yeah, they are stealing power)?

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because that is a Zinsco panel and they probably could not get the breakers out - so they just like it there and by-passed it with new feeders going to new service equipment ... ???

    Is that overhead service or underground? I.e., are those feeders leaving the meter to new service equipment or are they underground service laterals feeding the meter (in which case, yeah, they are stealing power)?
    Yea, it was underground service. The conductors coming up are from the street. I'm pretty sure the metered service conductors are coming from behind the middle main.

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  4. #4
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Looks like a yes to me. The incoming utility wires and the wires in the picture look to be on the same side of the meter - - - as in not going through the meter. Odd, however, that the utility wires are not terminated on the top of the meter ??? Protocol is line on top and load on the bottom. The duct tape tells you the installer is not only ignorant of electrical properties, but too dumb to worry about it. Without seeing the rest of that meter cover removed I'd have to say that meter reads nothing. There must be another set of conductors, ( another panel ), like Jerry suggests. Still; the utility conductors should be on top, not on the bottom.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Yes, stealing power. Utility connection lugs are on bus bars that go to the top of the meter on underground service panels. The bus bars lead from the bottom of the meter to the bus bars in the load side of the panel. When that100A breaker is turned on, there is a parallel path to those bus bars with some (most?) of the power coming before the meter. They probably switched the breaker on and off each month so their bill would still show a reasonable amount of electricity used so the utility wouldn't suspect what had been done.

    We see this a lot here in N California -"medical" marijuana growers with big lights in indoor gardens.


  6. #6
    Norman Ellis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because that is a Zinsco panel and they probably could not get the breakers out - so they just like it there and by-passed it with new feeders going to new service equipment ... ???

    Is that overhead service or underground? I.e., are those feeders leaving the meter to new service equipment or are they underground service laterals feeding the meter (in which case, yeah, they are stealing power)?
    I agree with jerry, that model of panel should have bussing from the load side of the meter going over to the breaker buss line. The wires you see lugged on to the feeders is bi passing the meter.
    1. it is stealing power from the utility company
    2. pulling the meter would not stop power to the panel. (fire code requires a service be turned off by no more than 7 steps.)
    3. if the feeders jumped from the meter to the breakers is an after market process, it is no longer up to code and has been altered outside of U/L listings for that model of panel and needs to be replaced or put back to its original design.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Having never seen one of those panels, I think that the manufacturer has a buss connection from the top of the meter into the breaker area. It appears to me that that panel was designed to be fed from the bottom.

    Consequently, they were absolutely stealing power whenever that green breaker was turned on. It would bypass the meter. If they hadn't gotten the phasing right, you would probably see black marks inside the interior.
    I hope you shut them down.


  8. #8
    Robert Rolleston's Avatar
    Robert Rolleston Guest

    Default Re: Stealing power?

    Did you ever figure this one out. Because sometimes underground fed meter sockets can look confusing take the one below for example. It almost looks like both sets of wires are on the bottom of the socket. The power company was actually puzzled by it and looked at it for a min before energizing it.




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