Danville, VA - Danville Utilities say they have seen an increase in people tampering with meters.
"People look at it as a victimless crime, but really it affects all customers because all customers have to share in the cost of that power that was stolen," said Nate Lewis, key accounts manager for Danville Utilities.
More and more Danville Utilities has been faced with theft, people cutting costs by changing meters.
"Either bypass the meter all together to completely steal power or try to slow down the meter or reverse the meter so it looks like you are using less power than you actually are," said Lewis.
Over the past few years Danville Utilities has changed to "smart" meters, which sound an alarm once tampering occurs.
"We have a much better gauge on how much tampering is actually going on," said Lewis.
They say since the change, they have found more cases of tampering with a big jump over the past few months. Tampering alone is a misdemeanor, and stealing power is a felony. But police say the biggest problem isn't just the crime.
"It's illegal for a reason. You have the theft of the service aspect of it but it's also a safety aspect. You could be seriously injured or killed doing that," said Ct. Matt Carter with the Danville Police Department.
They suggest you save money by lowering the thermostat and sealing up cracks in windows and doors.
"There are better ways to try to save than to try to steal power and tamper with meters," said Lewis.
You may soon notice an addition with your bill each month. Danville Utilities will soon be mailing customers a flyer to warn against electricity theft. They ask if you see it happen, to call them.
You can contact them at (434) 799-5159.