Energy theft is a serious issue that is not only against the law, it is also very dangerous. While honest customers are working hard to conserve energy and cut energy costs, energy thieves are tampering with service lines and meters and helping themselves to “free service.”
Energy theft, also called energy diversion, occurs when individuals tamper with electric meters or electric power lines. This practice can create unsafe conditions that can result in electrical shock, explosions, or death. Leaving the meter in unsafe conditions can cause fires and electrical shortages.
El Paso Electric (EPE) is working hard to catch energy thieves. EPE places special locking devices on meters and EPE’s meter readers are trained to spot energy theft. With help from EPE’s field employees as well as tips from customers, thieves who were getting a free ride are getting caught.
It's Against the Law
It is against the law to tamper with or to reconnect electric meters that have been disconnected by EPE; or to knowingly consume electricity which has not been correctly metered because of tampering. Anyone found guilty of using electricity illegally will face criminal charges and penalties.
In Texas, theft of energy is considered a felony.
In New Mexico, theft is considered a petty misdemeanor if it is less than $250. If it is more, then it is classified as a fourth-degree felony.
Report Energy Theft
The community’s help is essential in catching energy thieves. Citizens can help by reporting energy theft to EPE. Anyone who is aware of or suspects someone of stealing electricity can report it by calling El Paso Electric offices in Texas at (915) 543-5979 and in New Mexico at (575) 523-3551 or by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Names of those who report energy theft will be kept confidential.