What is the name of your state? Oklahoma
I moved into an apartment complex and after eight months I noticed a
pattern in my electric bills that was really strange.
The bill went like this:
Dec...1697 KWH (first full month I lived here)
I'm single and live in a small one bedroom apartment.
After seeing this pattern I became suspicious and tested to see if
anyone else was on my circuit by tripping all my breakers and then
looking at my meter to see if it was still registering electrical use
(i.e. spinning). It was still spinning like a top.
My closet has a breaker panel built into it and my landlady lives next
door. I'm sure her breaker box is on the opposite side of the wall
that has mine. I would assume she is hooked into my power supply
before it enters my breaker panel.
There are many other factors that point to her being the thief but I
don't need to go into that here.
I haven't brought this up with her yet as I'm sure she would disconnect
her circuit from my meter if she thought I was suspicious.
I intend to have the Power Co. inspect the meter. I'm not sure if
they are going to be able to tell me where the power drain is coming
from. If not then I will hire an electrician to inspect the wiring of
the breaker box and hope he can determine from that if she is stealing
I called the local Police and they said if I had evidence of this the
District Attorney could prosecute. The offense is a misdemeanor and
the max. fine is $200.00. They suggested that after the conviction I
could take her to SMC to recover the extra money I paid each month.
My questions are:
#1. Am I following the right procedure? Is there anything else I need
#2. Would I need a written statement from the electrician or Power Co.
stating this is the case or would they have to testify in person?
#3. I would like to do all I can legally to see she thinks twice about
doing this again to the next tenant (as I'm sure I'm not the first one
she's done this to). Should I contact the owner of the
apartments and advise him? Is he liable for her actions?
#4. In SMC can I sue for anything else in addition to reimbursement
for the extra cost on my power bill?
#5. If the Power Co. and the electrician can't find where (or if there
was a connection, if she shuts it off) the power draw is coming from,
could I use her statement from the Power Co. as proof in court (if it
reflects what I suspect it will) that she is stealing power from me?
If so, how would I obtain a copy of her bill?
Thanks for any advice anyone can give me.