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Trinity Valley EC News

Electricity Theft: Unsafe, Costly for Co-op Members

Message from General Manager/CEO Jeff Lane

Theft of electricity and related materials is a problem all electric utilities face—and it’s a problem for electricity customers, too. Because Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative is member-owned, electricity theft can drive up prices for everyone.

Theft of electricity also puts your personal safety at risk. Tampering with an electric meter can make it unsafe and unstable. When people steal electricity, they put themselves, their family, neighbors and pets at risk for electric shocks, power surges, sparks and fire from exposed voltage. Stealing electricity-related materials also can pose a significant threat to the culprit, resulting in injury or even death from exposure to live electricity.

Electricity theft isn’t isolated to rural areas or big cities. It’s a problem utilities encounter from agricultural operations to housing complexes to business offices and from coast to coast. Although electricity can be easily acquired through a utility, some people still are willing to risk physical injury or death just for the sake of a few free kilowatt-hours. Others may not realize the potentially serious legal implications. Stealing electricity is illegal under Texas law and violates electrical codes.

Keeping power safe and affordable is a priority for TVEC. That’s why we routinely inspect cooperative meters and equipment to ensure we’re doing our best to protect you from the risks of electricity theft. We take a proactive approach to this serious problem, reducing theft and its related costs.

You also can play a role in this process by immediately notifying us if you suspect someone is accessing power or tampering with equipment without paying their fair share. If you have information related to electricity or materials theft, please call us at 800-766-9576. Rest assured, we’ll preserve your anonymity. Because you share in the ownership of TVEC, we rely on your vigilance and willingness to alert us when people steal from the cooperative.