Magazine article Security Management

When Power Corrupts

Magazine article Security Management

When Power Corrupts

Article excerpt

Like cable signals, energy is an invisible commodity that thieves often believe they can tap into with impunity. As energy shortages lead to rolling blackouts in California and threaten other states, many experts fear that the dire situation will further embolden power thieves to divert current or tamper with meters. But so far the numbers indicate no such trend.

New research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) shows that less than 1 percent of small to mid-size commercial and industrial sites are stealing energy. To gather the data, EPRI asked U.S. and Canadian utilities to perform unannounced inspections at small to midsize commercial and industrial businesses and report the findings. The utilities inspected about 1,600 facilities.

Of those sites, less than one dozen were identified as locations where energy theft was probable or certain, says investigator Ralph Abbott of Plexus Research, Inc., which conducted the study for EPRI. Tampering was confirmed in only one case, according to the EPRI report. …

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