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Can Someone Tap Into Your Electrical Power Lines

Can an electrician determine if someone has tapped into my apartments electrical power lines?

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Question: Can an electrician determine if someone has tapped into my apartment’s electrical power lines? I have already caught the tenants upstairs hijacking my internet cable.

Thank you for your help.

This electrical question came from: Julie, a Homeowner from Boston, Massachusetts
See more about Home Wiring for Massachusetts

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Julie.
Julie, it would be easier to tap into an internet cable then it would be to tap into an electrical circuit simply because the internet cable is much more accessible then electrical cables, yet it would be possible if one knew what to do, it just would not be very safe and there would be much more involved. An electrician could take a few tests using an meter to determine if your circuits were being used. A recorder could also be set up to measure the usage of a circuit.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Can Someone Tap Into Your Electrical Power Lines”
  1. mark wattam says:

    I’m after some advice as we believe our power line is being tapped. We do not have direct access to our electric meter, which is some 200 yards away from our unit. My question is can our particular power cable be tapped into before it gets to us? We have had some rather large bills we have had a check meter fitted in our unit, and only after 2 months we find our bills are now a 3rd the cost of previous ones, my understanding is the check meter will only account for electricity used in our unit as it is fitted to our distribution board after the main input cable. To explain as to our dilemma, last months bill was for 980kph which was for 47.5 hours of unit use. We had the check meter installed, and the bill this particular month came back at 475kph but this covers 89.75 hours of unit use nearly double from the previous month, we run a slot car racing track and the software is a time used system which has to be turned on to function the track. Our electric usage never changes, we race 2 evenings and a Saturday morning, with a recorded monthly usage of 47.5 hours our standard month. The last month we had 4 other meetings explaining the 89.7 hours. Is it possible there is an interrupt or tap on the line before it reaches us?
    Regards, Mark

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mark,
      When installed properly in conduit and secure steel enclosures the main electrical service would be hard to tap into. However, open air cable and connection points do have the potential where they may be tampered with by a knowledgeable individual. Installing multiple meters at various locations of the electrical service will enable you to identify abnormal usage. Keep in mind that faulty or exposed electrical wiring may also cause instances of electrical consumption and an increased utility bill, as well as an electrical hazard. Having the electrical service inspected by the electric utility provider or a qualified electrician will be very helpful.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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