Unauthorized utility connections and meter tampering is the most dangerous kind of energy theft that can cause serious safety risks resulting in fires, explosions, electrocution injuries or even death. These illegal and hazardous connections endanger everyone — the person making the illegal connection and anyone nearby, but also utility workers and surrounding property.
Michigan legislation aims to deter unauthorized use or connections of electric and natural gas while protecting consumers from increased utility costs related to energy theft. It is a crime for any person to sell or transfer electricity or natural gas to another person, knowing or having reason to know that the product or service was obtained unlawfully.
Additionally, the legislation sets penalties for the assault or interference with a utility worker or contractor performing his or her duties. The offenses range from a misdemeanor to a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine for a worker’s death.
PIE&G will take immediate action to shut off service where unsafe and unauthorized use of electric or natural gas service is found. Reconnection will be on hold until all costs are paid, and the co-op may pursue criminal prosecution against the tenant or property owner where the energy theft occurred.