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.
Why bring buildings online? What information can operations teams glean from real-time data that they can’t just get from the monthly data provided by utility companies? Click to learn more.
- Existing Building Technologies Combine for Increased Savings
- 2014 Environmental Leader Product and Project Awards
- BuildingIQ's Meter Processing Flow
- How "Fixed" is the Fixed Price Product?
- Improve Your Company's Environment and Energy Performance
- Smart Companies Utilize Integrated Energy Solutions
- 2013-20114 Winter Polar Vortex
- Combined Heat and Power
- Let's Do The Math for DR
- Increase the Value of Demand Response Through Automation
- Cut Costs and Improve Facility Operations with Energy Data
- Energy Procurement Strategies for Winter 2014 and 2015
- Energy Efficiency Requires Engineering Efficiency
- Integrated Building Optimization: A Crucial Convergence of Demand-side and Supply-Side Energy Management Strategies
- Driving Productivity and Profit with Industrial Energy Management