Features

Companies Also Offer Advice

Dear Ann Landers: I was pleased to see the letter from “Irate in Michigan,” whose neighbors were plugging into her electrical outlets. That scenario happened to a friend of mine.

A new house was being built next door and the construction company plugged into his electrical outlets for six months. The workers also tapped into his water, and although that didn’t cost as much as the electricity, it was still stealing.

My friend talked to the new homeowners and the builder but nothing happened. Finally, he called the police and the stealing stopped. However, vindictive acts of vandalism were done to my friend’s property. Landscaping was ruined and the water was left on for hours. Construction workers parked in front of the garage so my friend couldn’t get his car out and so on.

Here’s some advice to anyone who is victimized by this sort of theft and harassment:

1. Document events in a journal, including dates, times and locations.

2. Confront the offenders in a non-threatening manner.

3. If you don’t get results, send a letter to the construction company and let it know that further action will be taken if the workers don’t stop.

4. If that doesn’t work, call the police.

I have since discovered that the water company makes a faucet meter, so neighbors can be charged when they tap into the outside faucet. I don’t know if the electric company has options like that but it’s worth looking into. - Still Steamed in Oregon

Dear Still Steamed: According to A to Z Electric Co. in Chicago ground-fault locking covers are available through any electrical supply house. Also, since most outside outlets have their own power line, they can be shut off at the fuse box and no one can use them until you turn the power back on.

Commonwealth Edison says if you suspect theft, call your local electric company. For those who live in apartments and suspect a neighbor is plugging into their electrical power, there is an easy way to find out. Shut off all electrical appliances, including the lights and refrigerator, and check to see if the wheel on the meter is still turning. If it is, call the electric company and report it.

Here’s one more on the subject:

Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to “Irate in Michigan,” who found construction workers had tapped into her electrical outlets. In 1988, while living in Louisiana, it happened to me. I was away for a month on a work assignment and when I returned, my electric bill had almost tripled. When I spoke to the electric company, I found out that not only had my electric usage gone up, but my security seal had been cut. I couldn’t prove who had stolen my electricity, but there was a new home being built in the lot next door.

Why would a construction worker steal electricity when the cost is paid by the owner of the new building? - Puzzled in Oklahoma

Dear Puzzled: ComEd told us that for most new home building, the local electric company provides temporary service so the construction company has access to electrical power. It seems to me there would be no reason to tap into yours unless the construction company is cutting corners to avoid exceeding the cost of the agreed-upon price.

xxxx



Click here to comment on this story »





Blogs

Bloomsday video

Colin Mulvany shot and produced a video on the sights and sounds of Bloomsday 2016. Check out the Bloomsday video here to relive Spokane's favorite race's 40th year.








Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile