SMECO newsletter

volume 67 - issue 1 - January 2017

Tampering with an electric meter is not safe

An electric meter measures the amount of electricity used in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Many people pay very little attention to the meter on the side of their home or business and those meters may look benign, but they are part of the electric distribution system and trying to remove or disable the meter is both illegal and dangerous.

Tampering with an electric meter can cause a fire or electrical failure; it could also lead to death.

According to the Cooperative Research Network, a division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, power surging through a compromised meter can cause an electrical misfortune. Serious injury or death from electrocution, explosion, or fire often results from meter tampering.

Only trained SMECO personnel wearing protective clothing should remove or work on meters. Even licensed electricians are required to contact SMECO so our employees can remove the meter.

Electricity theft is not a victimless crime. Your cooperative is a not-for-profit organization. This means that revenues lost and the cost of resources expended to investigate tampering incidents are passed on to the entire membership.

If you witness someone tampering with an electric meter, please contact SMECO. Anyone caught violating the law will be prosecuted. For more information, call 888-440-3311 or visit

If anyone removes or tampers with the electric meter, SMECO will charge the account holder a $252 fee, along with any other applicable charges.