Marijuana Growers Siphon Electricity From Power Lines
Electricity thieves cost utilities billions of dollars each year, and marijuana growers are some of the biggest culprits.
Awesense, a Vancouver-based company that provides sensors and software to detect energy theft, has found that marijuana growers are heavy energy consumers because they use special energy-hogging lights to make their crops grow faster indoors.
“Electricity is one of the biggest costs for a marijuana-grow facility,” said Doug Bunker, VP of channels and alliances for Awesense. “Marijuana grow-ups have been the largest single industry for power theft.”
The first wave of marijuana growers just paid their bill, said Bunker, but then the police could easily find them, so they began tapping into either primary or secondary electricity lines. Awesense has noted that even in locales where marijuana is legal, the growers are just as likely to steal power.
The growers tap into lines that are exposed to the air, or they dig to underground lines, or even tap off an existing panel box (pictured). A single grower might steal $5,000 of electricity a year, but an organized ring could steal as much as $400,000 of electricity per year.
Utilities can provide their investigation teams with Awesense’s products to “scrub their grid” on a regular basis or place the monitors in areas where they suspect electricity theft. Also, utilities sometimes get inquiries from cutomers to inspect the accuracy of meters. Awesense’s monitors can compare the actual electricity usage of a business with its utility bill.
- Environmental Leader Technology Reviews
- Guide to Energy, Carbon and Environmental Software
- The Logistics, Carbon, and Business Data Book: Fall 2012 Sustainability Trends
- 2013 Insider Knowledge
- How "Fixed" is the Fixed Price Product?
- 9 Ways to Reduce Energy Costs
- Cox Enterprises Cuts Energy Costs Up to 10-15% in Certain Markets
- EHS Managers: The Evolution from Necessary Evil to Vital Leaders
- Select the Right Solution for Facilities Management
- How to Reduce Cost by Increasing Accountability for Energy Efficiency
- Smart Building Technology: The Key to Comprehensive Building Performance
- What Energy Managers Need to know about Procuring Natural Gas: Guidance for 2014 Natural Gas Contracts
- Energy Optimization from the Boiler Room to the Board Room
- Your Roadmap for Energy Management: First Stop – Myths & Realities of Energy Purchasing
- Control the Balance of Power: The Future of Intelligent Energy Systems