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(WFTV Orlando)   Man arrested for selling device which cuts power bills in half   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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39371 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jun 2004 at 3:47 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

100 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-06-04 04:25:31 PM  
I remember a few years back seeing articles about magnetic rings that were placed around the base of the meter glass to slow down the meter. People would paint them the same color as the box.
2004-06-04 04:27:24 PM  

Because writting about how to grow pot IN HUGE LETTERS on a public forum never gains attention.

2004-06-04 04:27:25 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
2004-06-04 04:29:42 PM  
Enuratique it's not that difficult. I think students got caught doing that at yale, but noone found out till 10 years after the fact. the weed/ivy was already in place for years, i think someone tipped them off that the ivy was high in thc. just make razor splices at the base of the ivy and stick in parts like you would do for cloning females, pray it takes, that's all. if you do this repeatedly, wait for it to grow then splice again, wait for it to grow etc. after about 5 generations of clones you got your plant. it doesn't take a lab to do it just clean tools and lots of observing.

anyway most meters will send alerts if they run backwards. reverse phasing won't work, but i never thought of the dc load, it would "leak" back to the pole's ground. tho you better pray that your wiring grounds are all solid if that's attempted.

i remember at a barn/garage that had a seperate meter, running a tig welder made the meter stop, but not run backwards. course it also pegged the tach on my car also :/
2004-06-04 04:31:11 PM  
The balanced load idea was interesting, But the 2 legs coming into your house each carry 120V to ground, and you would have to use rather large trasnformers to step it down, etc. and it just doesn't work. Shunting around the meter with a 1 Megohm resistor? I'm not sure about that either, because it would be huge to dissipate the heat. Plus, 120V / 1M Ohm = 0.00012 usable Amps At the other side, and that wouldn't even charge my cellphone (Ohm's Law...E=IR) . Besides, electricity follows the path of least resistance, so all you'd really get in the long run is caught. Using some sort of inductor to slow or reverse the meter might just work, because they work on magnetism, but it would still be a rather large coil. I wonder how this guy was doing it? Not that I would ever try to steal from such upstanding members of society as PSE&G...
2004-06-04 04:31:19 PM  

Miami-Dade police said Acosta, a landscaper, had approximately 200 customers who paid him $25 a month to activate his device, which allowed about half of a homeowner's electricity to bypass the meter.
wonder how you say that in Spanish....

Miami-Dade policia dijo Acosta, una paisajista, tena aproximadamente dos cien clientes que pagaronle $25 un mes activar el dispositivo, que permitio sobre mitad de una duenocasero's electricidad puentear el metro.
2004-06-04 04:31:39 PM  
The Slush
/don't need no instructions to know how to ROCK!
2004-06-04 04:35:18 PM  
Some guy in Calgary got busted for it when I was in colledge.

damn, son of secret police , i was going to make a comment about money wasted, but you stole my thunder.
2004-06-04 04:45:29 PM  
Oh boo farking hoo. So what, people are trying to get around the power companies price gouging because they, yes, are a monopoly and their customers can't turn anywhere else. And we all know they charge way too much. And we do nothing about it. Here in Rochester, in one of the outlying towns, Fairport, they have their own local power for the town and pay next to nothing for it. Not sure how it works though. And they aren't just making it up with higher taxes, because I work with several people who live there and laugh at the rest of us sucking at RG&E's tit.

I've got no pity for the people who got caught either. You play the game, you roll the dice, sometimes you lose.
2004-06-04 04:51:10 PM  
I just send my unused ohms back to the power company.
2004-06-04 04:57:38 PM  
Ohms for the Poor, Ohms for the Poor.


Let's be absolutely clear about this, these people are criminals.

Now, where can I get one...

2004-06-04 04:58:52 PM  
So is he like a desepticon or something and stealing the Autobot's energon cubes or what?

But i don't wanna rtfa!
2004-06-04 04:58:59 PM  
Should definately have a HERO tag...
2004-06-04 05:02:20 PM  
thieves suck
2004-06-04 05:06:03 PM  
We're not actually USING power from the power company. Because AC electricity flows both ways, you're actually just RENTING the electrons and then sending them back to the power company where they can keep them at a higher potential.
2004-06-04 05:06:09 PM  
i agree with whoever said it above, the headline is a bit misleading
2004-06-04 05:13:26 PM  
Revised bills are being sent.

Y-ouch! Sucks to be the first guy this landscaper "hooked" up.
2004-06-04 05:14:16 PM  
People these days, always looking for an easier, cheaper way out.
2004-06-04 05:18:50 PM  

anyway most meters will send alerts if they run backwards.

As a former power company employee I can assure you meters do not report theft. Meters cost $30, they dont transmit anything. Turning meters upside down, magnets, sticking needle like objects in them are indeed ways to cheat. Running a connection out to the box in the street would be the best idea.. and only run a few appliances.. please.

/You can still wear your tin foil hat if you want.
2004-06-04 05:23:08 PM  
...allowed about half of a homeowner's electricity to bypass the meter.

Acosta's average clients sliced about $12,000 off their bills over the past four and a half years...

So these folks were saving ... umm... 12000 divide 4 and a half... about $2700 per year on their utility bills.

Waitaminute. So if they HADN'T had these little gimcracks, they would have had utility bills of > $5000 a year?

Jeepers. I'm surprised they're not getting busted for running grow-ops in addition to stealing power.
2004-06-04 05:24:12 PM  
When I read this headline I was thinking
img.fark.netView Full Size
but after RTFA the guy is a
img.fark.netView Full Size
2004-06-04 05:27:50 PM  
TheRealShadowspawn - its an urban legend thats been around since the early 70's, so yeah you're still an idiot.
2004-06-04 05:38:41 PM  

Better than altering Marijuana to grow like kudzoo. Would be to insert THC genes into other plants using a plasmid or a virus, you could put it into something like apples, grass, KUDZOO, etc.

However you run into the problem of cross breeding back to the original THC free wild version. (I'm not sure whether THC would act to protect the plant and help it suceed in the wild, or if the energy required to create it would end up hurting it's reproductive potential)

However an interesting potential lies in creating a virus, that would do nothing but infect the plant and deliver the gene payload. If you can create a virus that was sufficiently infectious, that you could spray it on a field and have a sufficiently high affect rate you could spread the gene without planting anything.

The problem with that, is whether you are releasing a monster that will mutate. and kill off other plants. (the same reason that that they worry about genetically engineering something to kill off kudzoo) a way to reduce that risk is to make it non-infectious in the wild. Meaning it would not spread plant to plant, only when you sprayed the virus on the leaves.

The holy grail of this is to create a herbacide that is "Species specific" and 100% effective. The idea being that you could crop dust an entire field and kill all the weeds without leaving any toxins. Only a virus that is completely inert to all other species. However, we're a long way from that.
2004-06-04 05:39:38 PM  
Sounds much easier to just turn the lights off when you leave the bloody room.
2004-06-04 05:42:41 PM  
I get my energy on Kazaa.

Yeah take your meter apart only 115VAC and about 150 AMPS! It won't for long. But seriously you can remove the plastic do-hickey. I removed mine to seal wires because water was leaking into the meter (power company refused to do it, because according to them they only have to work on where the wires come off the pole to the house) Of course I wore 10KV gloves and stood on a fiberglass ladder.

My father-in-law works for the power company and when he first started he was a meter checker. He says, when you go to a house and there's a big subwoofer duct taped to the front of the meter you know something is up. He doesn't remember the magnet being able to spin the dial backwards but it would definately slow it down a little.
2004-06-04 05:42:56 PM  
Why steal energy when it can be made for free?!

Click for the not so biggest secret in the world!

Yes, it opens in a new window!
2004-06-04 05:43:54 PM  

However a lot of those problems go away when you're not trying to effect the whole ecosystem.

You could insert THC into Lavender or Sage, grow it in your back yard in full view of the neighbors/cops. and make some great smelling incense that would get you high as a kite.
2004-06-04 05:46:08 PM  
I'm with Zumaki, I was picturing something much cooler.

[image from too old to be available]

2004-06-04 05:46:49 PM  
isn't there some sort of unwritten rule that you also have to have a gro-op going on?

Is a gro-op some sort of Canadian orgy?

/yeah, get me the phone numbers for Shania Twain and Avril Lavigne, eh?
2004-06-04 05:50:58 PM  

"gro-op"="grow-op" = grow opperation

its when someone is growing marijuan, usually indoors using hydroponics and high wattage growlights. When you're running 5000+ watts of growlights all the time, you run up a large energy bill. So thats why meter tampering would run hand in hand with gro-ops
2004-06-04 05:56:47 PM  
2004-06-04 05:46:08 PM chechcal I'm with Zumaki, I was picturing something much cooler.

Same here. I was thinkin that it might have been the guy that invented the carburetor that runs on water or gets a hundred miles to the gallon. Alas, it was just some asshat....
2004-06-04 06:02:20 PM  
In that case maybe I should sue the electric company for over-charging me

Yep that'll work, but to afford the legal team needed to beat theirs you'll need to go class action, then join the other thousands and end up with a settlement or judgment that likely will give each of you a few tens of dollars compensation. Of course your legal team will make out nicely. Maybe they'll pay you a few more bucks to wash their new Porsches.
2004-06-04 06:07:04 PM  
Utility theft is a felony...why?
2004-06-04 06:09:06 PM  
0lorin & the rest of you reefer fiends
All right, you no good wiseacres! Just what ever happened to getting high on life?!? There's no genetic modification involved, no tell tale evidence beyond a smile (which serves as a nifty umbrella), and no paranoia beyond the constant knowledge that Christ is returning, and will judge each of yea most harshly. Beyond the possibility of being castigated and cast into eternal flame by a guy who's pissed because he can't scrap change, but can whistle through his hand, you have no worries!

Now, forget this marygeewanna foolishness, and take up dodgeball, or other healthy alternatives.
2004-06-04 06:17:48 PM  
Utility theft is a felony...why?

In most states, any theft over $1,000 is considered a felony.
2004-06-04 06:18:43 PM  
shabu I hope you're kidding, as the S&M references in your bio lead me to believe.

But shouldn't a Christy be ok with weed, didn't god give us all the herbs of the world for our use. Genesis 1:29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Also traditional hebrew medicines included an extraction made from flowering marijuana tops.
2004-06-04 06:20:02 PM  
I have one of these. I call it an 'off' switch.
2004-06-04 06:41:49 PM  
Acosta's average clients sliced about $12,000 off their bills over the past four and a half years...

Let's see.... 12,000 divided by 54 months equals 222.22

So the average client paying Acosta $25 a month and was SAVING over $200 a month on their electric bills? What the fark are their electric bills normally? They sound like electricity hogs if their bills are normally OVER $200 a month.
2004-06-04 06:52:59 PM  
HAHAHA I clicked on the link and got a pop-up to ""!
2004-06-04 06:54:31 PM  
Energy fraud: It's the free market in action when Enron does it, but it's a crime when some regular guy does it.
2004-06-04 07:13:36 PM  

As a former power company employee I can assure you meters do not report theft. Meters cost $30, they dont transmit anything. Turning meters upside down, magnets, sticking needle like objects in them are indeed ways to cheat. Running a connection out to the box in the street would be the best idea.. and only run a few appliances.. please.

Depends on where you live. Out here (large midwestern city) all the meters are radio transmitters and the displays are electronic. They don't actually read the meter manually unless they can't get a signal when they drive by. My parents have had that for years, out here they just changed over fully this year. So my meter is read by a van that just drives down the street normally. Probably saves a fortune on labor costs.
2004-06-04 08:07:57 PM  
The real stinger is going to be the four year bill for electricity that the people who got caught stealing it will receive.

The price will be based on the market value at the time of the other words during the deregulation scam that brought down Enron among others.

My point is that these people could receive power bills in the mid range five figure area plus a criminal fine as well...

I have seen grow operations busted where the power company sends a bill to the operator in the low six figure range.(wherehouse hydro set-ups)

TommyymmoT has it ur damn bill ya lech!
2004-06-04 11:13:24 PM  

Sure looks like you got your moneys worth while you were at "colledge".

/just couldnt let that one slide
2004-06-04 11:57:39 PM  
Think how much more trouble he'll get when he shows his customers how to download mp3.
2004-06-05 02:51:57 AM  
My high school chemistry teacher explained how such a device might work, and provided an illustration from history.

According to him, an electrical load on an AC line causes the voltage sine wave to lag. The higher the load, the greater the phase shift. He said that this phase shift is what the meter is actually measuring. He also said that in the late 1950s, when home movie cameras were getting popular, Bell and Howell briefly introduced a projector that automatically dimmed the lights in the room by electronically pushing the AC so far out of phase that it nearly cancelled out, lowering the voltage to almost nothing and thus dimming the lights. Anything else that happened to be running would also get low voltage, but this was at a time when people didn't own very many electrical devices or keep them constantly turned on like we do today.

However, another effect of creating a large phase shift was that the electric meter would spin like mad. So people who used this projector saw their power bills suddenly go through the roof, and the product was a failure. This teacher specifically said that you could easily construct a similar device that would push the phase of the AC forward, undoing the phase lag created by running devices and slowing down the meter. But he stopped short of showing us how to do it.

I never tried to figure out how to build the thing and really don't know if the story is true or not. After so many years you would think this sort of thing would be common knowledge. A few minutes of Google research just now turned up nothing. But I never had any reason to question the integrity of this particular teacher. Any electrical engineers out there care to comment?
2004-06-05 05:20:37 AM  
Man arrested for selling device which cuts power bills in half
He was selling scissors?
2004-06-05 08:21:44 AM  
i guess there's allot of places that still have issues with unions or something.

[image from too old to be available]

haven't really seen a meter without some type of this device, lots of optical ones. takes about 30 seconds to switch out a meter, and then noone has to go walking from house to house anymore.

I worked in landscaping for a while going through school and i'd say that roughly all houses had something like that in 3 states, different power companies.

but i only know what i've seen, i don't believe everything that i read.
2004-06-05 11:17:45 AM  
Causing the current to lead the voltage may very well slow down a meter from the 50's, but most of your metering devices compensate for this, and actually use this phase shifting to correct themselves. It's called power factor, and they would notice it if your PF dropped that low.
2004-06-05 01:00:34 PM  
L = Florida Plunder and Loot

That's what we always called it. Many of these houses have central air con going all the time and this may explain the higher than northern bills.
2004-06-05 05:13:59 PM  

FPL = Florida Plunder and Loot
That's what we always called it. Many of these houses have central air con going all the time and this may explain the higher than northern bills.

Fun fact: You can write the check to Florida Plunder & Loot, and they cash it just the same. (At least it's worked for me.)
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