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Pirating electricity is a crime

Pirating electricity is a crime

April 28, 2022 – Those stealing electricity may not have an eye patch or captain a ship, but they are pirates nonetheless. Theft of electricity is a crime, and a dangerous one at that. Stealing electricity is not victimless and can be life threatening. In an effort to safeguard the best interests of all customers, utilities throughout the industry are clamping down on those who steal electricity. LCEC remains vigilant in its efforts to identify and stop meter cheaters through a program that utilizes automated meter reading technology, business intelligence reporting and field investigations to detect theft, reduce losses and prevent injury to those who choose to steal electricity.

Dangers of meter tampering:

  • The electric meter is the point that electricity enters the home. Tampering with the equipment can result in injury or death by electrocution.
  • Altering equipment can be a fire hazard and back-feed into the lines where crews are working, putting them in danger. 

Cost of meter tampering:

  • The cost of stolen power purchased by LCEC is passed along to all rate-payers.
  • Damaged meters must be replaced.
  • Detecting, investigating, collecting restitution and potentially prosecuting incidents requires resources.

Consequences of meter tampering:

  • In accordance with the Florida Public Service Commission guidelines and LCEC rate tariff,
  • Power is disconnected and the meter is removed immediately.
  • A $200 meter tampering fee, equipment replacement charge, security deposit, current bill and restitution must be paid before power is restored.
  • Power theft is a crime subject to legal prosecution.

What can you do to help reduce power theft?

If you suspect someone is pirating electricity, click on “Contact us” – “Report Energy Theft” or call 239-656-2300 or 1-800-599-2356. Not only are you stopping a criminal, you are potentially saving a life.

Not only are you stopping a criminal, you are potentially saving a life.

National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18

April 14, 2022 – One of our favorite days at LCEC is around the corner! National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18. On this special day, LCEC honors not just our dedicated linemen, but line workers around the world, for the imperative and dangerous work they do. These dedicated, highly skilled workers put their lives on the line 24/7/365 to keep the lights on. They work in the most dangerous conditions faced with challenging elements and situations. From swamps, snakes, and alligators to rain, wind, and high temps, linemen truly overcome all obstacles to get the job done!  

LCEC is extremely proud to have made history when lineman Les Walton was inducted into the International Lineman Museum Hall of Fame in 2015. Walton passed away in 2020, but his legacy will forever live at LCEC and in this museum!

National Lineman Appreciation Day is a day to #thankalineman for their work which goes largely unnoticed until you are without power. Should you see a lineman on National Lineman Appreciation Day, or any day for that matter, please give them a wave.

LCEC extends a huge thank you to all the brave line heroes across the nation!

Powerful facts about the lineman trade:
-The power lineman trade began: 1879
-First lineman in the United States: Ezra Cornell (who built the Morse telegraph line and founded Cornell University)
-Founder and first president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: Henry Miller
-Number of line workers in the United States: More than 115,000
-Number of wood poles in United Sates: 170+ million
-Approximate weight of lineman tools and equipment: 30 pounds
-Miles of wire service in United States: 9 million+
-Number of transmission towers in service in United States: 2.7 million+
-Number of wood poles in service in United States: 170 million+
-Number of years of training to become lineman: 4 years

A slow-moving global supply chain impacts electric utilities

April 11, 2022 – Global supply chain challenges and material shortages may cause delays in the installation new LCEC electric service and district lighting. Disruptions in manufacturing and delivery, as a result of COVID-19, raw material, labor shortages, and nationwide weather events such as ice storms and tornadoes are making it difficult for suppliers to meet demand for key components essential to keeping the lights on. “Longer than usual lead times and production constraints have impacted inventory levels making it difficult to manage infrastructure planning,” said LCEC Chief Financial Officer Sarah Bullock.

Utilities nationwide are facing supply chain challenges that could possibly linger into 2023, or longer.

Lead times for materials has risen from three months to more than a year in many cases. While LCEC customers have enjoyed consistent turnaround times for new and residential infrastructure and emergency response, service levels will be tested if critical equipment is not available. In addition, rising costs for raw materials, parts, and components will become a concern that could easily lead to rate increases or power cost adjustments in the future. “If supply chain challenges impact rates, it is going to sting when it hits customers’ wallets. LCEC has not raised base rates in more than 13 years,” Bullock said.

In order to help mitigate inventory shortfalls, LCEC plans to:

  • Communicate potential delays to developers, builders, governmental agencies, and customers
  • Prioritize work
  • Suspend new district lighting requests that require unavailable materials
  • Monitor inventory levels frequently and order with longer lead times in mind
  • Utilize reconditioned equipment when possible
  • Reuse equipment at idle service locations
  • Delay proactive replacement of infrastructure

The expectation is that, along with business-as-usual operations, new project and maintenance delays will become longer and more frequent while supply chain challenges remain high. If the cost of construction bids, large ticket items such as power transformers and bucket trucks, and fuel remain higher than pre-pandemic levels it will cause a ripple effect.

LCEC employee honored as Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral 2021 Trustee of the Year

April 7, 2022 – Construction & Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Justin was recently named the 2021 Trustee of the Year for the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral. Justin and his wife joined the Chamber three years ago. During that time, LCEC supported Justin’s role as a Trustee and participation in the eight-week Cape Coral Chamber Advanced Leadership Class at Keiser University. He also volunteered at many Chamber-sponsored events, and assisted new members in joining the organization. Community involvement is nothing new for Justin who was an elected official for many years and served on many Boards and Commissions in Davenport, Iowa where he lived before moving to Florida. “I feel it is very important to give back to the community. Being involved with the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral has allowed me to be directly involved in our community, help businesses be successful, and meet people who are making a difference locally,” Justin said. “It’s an honor to serve on this Board and I am humbled and surprised by this amazing recognition.” LCEC encourages and supports employees to be good stewards of the communities they serve and Justin’s efforts demonstrate how it makes a difference.

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