How can Oncor cut power off to an entire apartment building because a few people are stealing electricity?
Electricity theft is more than just a petty crime. Many times, the theft involves tampering with the metering equipment and energized electrical wires. This can result in a dangerous and hazardous situation, such as exposed conductors, loose electrical connections or sparking wires. Conditions like these often cause fires and put the public at risk. Serious bodily injury or death could occur if someone accidentally contacted damaged electrical equipment.
When Oncor or a local fire or police department finds hazardous conditions resulting from electricity theft, Oncor has to disconnect electricity at the level necessary to secure the hazardous condition and ensure the safety of the general public. Oncor cannot reconnect power to a building that was disconnected for a hazardous condition until the building passes a city safety inspection.
Since apartment buildings often have one service line feeding a combined enclosure of meters, it is often necessary to disconnect the service line feeding the entire building to secure the hazard. This may result in some innocent tenants losing electricity. When these situations occur, Oncor works with the building management, city officials, police and various aid groups to keep the residents informed of the situation and what needs to be done for power to be restored quickly and safely.
We’re concerned about the safety of all consumers, including those who are engaging in the dangerous activity of stealing electricity. No amount of money is worth risking injury or death. Our No. 1 priority is always the safety of our employees and the general public.
-Kris M., Oncor Meter Expert