LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative

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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, contact LCEC at and click on Customer Care or call 239-656-2300 or 1-800-599-2356. Not only are you stopping a criminal, you are potentially saving a life.

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