NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Board of Public Utilities, City of Jamestown, New York, that on March 27, 2015, it issued and filed with the Public Service Commission of the State of New York revised leaves to its Schedule for Electric Service, P.S.C. No. 7 - Electric becoming effective as of March 1, 2016.The new rates are intended to provide a rate increase of 1.69% based on retail sales revenue.
Tampering with Electric Meters Is Dangerous, Leads to Legal Prosecution and Possible Serious Injury or Death
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office and the Jamestown and Town of Ellicott Police Departments are teaming up to prosecute individuals who tamper with BPU equipment in an attempt to avoid paying for utility services.
Tampering brings a “theft of service” charge, along with applicable financial penalties and fees.
The BPU has seen a recent upswing in both water and electric meter tampering, according to utility Billing Supervisor Heather DeLong.
Meter tampering comes in many forms. The most common method is to remove the meter seal by a customer in order to reconnect service after it has been disconnected for non-payment. Customers also have stolen electricity meters, drilled meter boxes and attached jumper wires to bypass a meter. Others have attempted to make meters register less than the amount of electricity actually used.
“Theft of electricity is not just illegal,” says BPU Transmission and Distribution Manager Chris Rodgers. “It also is very dangerous.”
“BPU employees are highly trained to work with electricity and have the knowledge, tools and equipment to do it safely. One wrong move by an untrained individual can lead to serious injury or death,” explains Rodgers. “Stealing electric meters, for instance, leaves open access to energized equipment creating a threat to public safety.”
Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson notes that theft of service is a class A misdemeanor. With a second offense or with theft in excess of $1,000, he says, the charge becomes a class E felony.
“The District Attorney’s Office is fully supportive of prosecuting these cases in Chautauqua County,” adds Swanson who formerly prosecuted these types of cases when working in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
“We are involved in and committed to arrests of this nature,” said Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings. “While tampering with utility equipment is illegal and costly for the BPU and its customers, it is a public safety issue as well. We hope to prevent accidents caused by such thefts and eliminate any tampering from occurring.”
“Attempting to steal services or equipment impacts all of our customers,” states BPU General Manager David L. Leathers. “When one customer steals electricity or water service, ultimately all other customers pay for that theft with increased utility rates in the future.”
“We also are gravely concerned about the dangerous safety situation created as a result of such illegal actions,” continues Leathers. “Meter tampering which leaves access to live open wires could result in serious injury or death. We urge all customers to leave utility meters alone.”
“Piping Hot,” a new BPU e-newsletter for our District Heating customers.
The electronic newsletter will be mailed to District Heating customers twice a year, updating them on new District Heat developments and providing maintenance tips for customers.
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