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Pirate Electrician Supplied Power To 1,500 Homes

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the scuttle-the-meter dept.

Power 373

fridaynightsmoke writes "A former electrical engineer for utility EDF has been prosecuted for illegally supplying power to some 1,500 homes in north London. Derek Brown, 45, was arrested in 2008 after being seen tampering with the electric grid in a manhole. He specialized in connecting separate supplies to houses that were split into apartments. One landlord involved, Haresh Parmar, was jailed for 9 months for stealing £30,000 worth of electricity for 22 of his apartments. Brown's assets will be seized and he has been sentenced to 8 months suspended, and 150 hours community service."

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Oh my-- (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879744)

What a shocking development

Re:Oh my-- (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33879916)

What are all those extension cords for?

Re:Oh my-- (1)

digitalunity (19107) | about 4 years ago | (#33880062)

I once stole cable from a neighbor.

1500 homes? That's pretty ambitious. This guy must have nuts of steel, or a rock for a brain.

Logical disjunction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880140)

Those usually go hand in hand!

Re:Logical disjunction? (3, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 4 years ago | (#33880308)

And yet it enabled him to supply more power than the average renewable power government project. I say we need more nuts and rocks !

Re:Oh my-- (2, Interesting)

ommerson (1485487) | about 4 years ago | (#33880300)

Or more likely, a small number of crooked customers who have a vested interest in keeping the whole thing quiet. Note that the a landlord of 22 properties got a longer sentence than the electrician.

freedom (5, Funny)

Dionysus (12737) | about 4 years ago | (#33879748)

Electricity wants to be free!

Re:freedom (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879912)

No, electricity wants to be *grounded*.

Re:freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880004)

No, electricity wants to be *grounded*.

What it really wants is for the first 20 posts to be a bunch of stupid puns! Readers just love scrolling through "crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, yup more crap, crap, crap, lame attempt to be funny, crap, crap, crap, dumbass slashdot meme, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, stupid puns, crap, crap, crap, crap, hey look an interesting post!"

Re:freedom (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880038)

I guess everyone can't be like eldavojohn, who spends 15 minutes typing up an essay, to submit it 1 minute after the story hits front page.

Re:freedom (0, Troll)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33880108)

Dear Anonymous Coward,
That is why most stupid, crap-spewing dumbasses post as Anonymous Coward.

Re:freedom (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880196)

Dear Anonymous Coward, That is why most stupid, crap-spewing dumbasses post as Anonymous Coward.

Dear Pseudononymous Coward,
I am glad to see you personally demonstrate that every rule has an exception.

Re:freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880222)

Dear mwvdlee,

Apparently not only the ACs are crap-spewing dumasses...great post. I guess maybe it's a square-rhombus situation...All ACs are crap spewing dumbasses but not all crap-spewing dumasses are ACs? Thanks for providing me with a real thinking for this weak.

Yours truly,
Another AC

Oblahgatory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879764)

Hey, it's Duvall from Brazil! Hey, it's Durst from Brazil! But he played a plumber! And he was actually played by Wil Wheaton! No, he was played by DeCaprio! No, he was played by Dufante! Wait, I think it was actually Coppola who played the part! Hey, it's James Dean from Brazil! Remember that funny rogue plumber who was operating outside the regulations? He was so cool! Hey, it's Daniel Day-Lewis from Brazil! Remember him? That guy who got in a gunfight over fixing the failed utility in the apartment without the proper paperwork? Hey, it's Benicio Del Toro from Brazil! Remember that guy? He was teh shit! He filled those evil union bureaucrats' suits up with raw sewage. That was so cool! You know, London? Yes, London. Hey, it's Duchovny from Brazil! Only in real life! He really is out there being a rogue electrician instead of a plumber, because the plumbers are on the hunt for the real guy from Brazil! Remember Brazil? That movie with Michael Douglas as the plumber? He was so awesome as a blue-collar rebel! He played that part perfectly! Like when Gordon Gekko looked in the mirror and said, 'You talkin' to me?" I loved that part, I really did, it was so good, remember that part? Hey, it's the Deer Hunter! Remember that film? Squeal like a pig! Hey, it's De Niro.

Re:Oblahgatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879812)

Cool story bro

Dont jail a man for giving away energy, free! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879776)

Energy Should be free anyway... Common lets get the H20 Stuff goin!

British Power Supply (3, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | about 4 years ago | (#33879780)

Can someone explain how the mains circuit is supplied.

TFA was so light on details its very difficult to understand what he did. I'm not sure how you can actually illegally tap into the power grid without someone noticing. Here an inspector literally reads the meter or in some cases a digital meter supplies information automatically. In fact, my gas is apparently wireless and merely requires someone to drive by to meter the usage. It would seem like something that would be very difficult to subvert in a suburban environment.

Re:British Power Supply (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#33879818)

TFA was so light on details its very difficult to understand what he did. I'm not sure how you can actually illegally tap into the power grid without someone noticing.

We're reading about it, and the article wasn't written by the person, so obviously someone noticed (even though they were apparently slow about it... perhaps they wanted to let the charges rack up, so they could make an example of the person)

Re:British Power Supply (4, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 years ago | (#33879906)

Um, he can do all kinds of things.

Just tap into power and run it to a new building. Meter reader isn't expecting to go to the building to read the meter, so nothing is missed.

Or run electricity into building, through a box that looks like a meter, only gives out a faulty reading.

As for wireless and/or internet-connected meters, it wouldn't surprise me if the company isn't particularly on the clue train and may not, say, have a very good system in place for authenticating the data from the device [so you could replicate the signal and put out whatever reading you want]. However, the company probably does require a semi-regular physical meter reading, to check that the physical meter has the same reading as the broadcast one, and the system doesn't appear to be tampered with].

Electricity may be more complicated to wire up correctly to bypass the meter [so x% goes through the meter and y% goes around the meter], but gas and water are really straightforward to do the plumbing and to get a reasonable percentage through the meter, and people have been really imaginative in disguising/hiding the modifications.

Re:British Power Supply (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#33880160)

Or run electricity into building, through a box that looks like a meter, only gives out a faulty reading.

The article talks about buildings that are split into apartments. In the UK sometimes the landlord pays the electric company, and then has private meters for each apartment - all going through the main meter. (This is much less common than it was because there are strict limits on markup and additional charges. Most new flats now have electric company meters). The safest way to fiddle the bill would be to have one or two flats going through the main meter and the rest using an illegal collection. The landlord of course collects money from all the tenants!

Re:British Power Supply (1)

Malc (1751) | about 4 years ago | (#33879938)

Where's here? Everywhere I've lived, it's possible to hook up to the grid illicitly. For example, when I lived in Canada, a lot of the pot grow houses were discovered by unusually high power consumption in an area. Clearly in N. America, it can be possible to get steal electricity too.

Re:British Power Supply (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33879944)

There are three ways to steal power. The easy way, the hard way, and the insane way.
- The easy way: Vamp the cables before they go into the meter. Carefully poke needles into them, solder cable to the needles. Careful not to draw too much current, or they get hot - but British power is 230V, so a little current goes a long way. There is a risk of a meter reader noticing, but if you have a remotely-monitored smart-meter then this is an option. Popular with intensive pot-growers - not to avoid the fee, but because a house that suddenly spikes by several kilowatts and stays there will raise a suspicion notice at the utility, and may result in police going around to see if someone is operating hundreds of day-bulbs.

- The hard way: Find a cable someone else has paid for and splice in. Good targets are outbuildings. If your garage is next to theirs, a little breaking-and-entering is all you need.

- The insane way: Tap into the actual mains distribution cables under the roads or on utility poles. I think this is what he was doing. High effort, high risk of detection, high risk of electrocution. Only a real electrician could do this, like the person of the article. Allows access to great amounts of power, for running large buildings.

Re:British Power Supply (3, Informative)

David Off (101038) | about 4 years ago | (#33880084)

Fourth way, if you live near high voltage cables run cables beneath to tap of electricity by induction. People have been prosecuted in the UK for doing this.

The electric company meters the supply upstream of the domestic supplies so they have an idea if someone is drawing electricity illegally as all the individual readings should add up to the global reading minus losses.

Re:British Power Supply (3, Interesting)

Qubit (100461) | about 4 years ago | (#33880112)

if you live near high voltage cables run cables beneath to tap of electricity by induction. People have been prosecuted in the UK for doing this.

How in the world do you prosecute someone for using an induction loop?

I mean, sure, you could prosecute them for trespass or something if you move your stuff onto their property/airspace, but if it's all on your own land, it's just EM waves flowing through the air. If the land owner has to put up with the radiation they didn't ask for, who is to say that they can't use it to induce a current?

Anyhow, I figure you might be trollin' seeing as how you'd have to get really close to get any measurable power via induction, but it is an interesting question in any case...

Re:British Power Supply (4, Informative)

turing_m (1030530) | about 4 years ago | (#33880210)

How in the world do you prosecute someone for using an induction loop?

It is theft of power. If it wasn't able to be prosecuted, you'd have people buying up tracts of land under high tension power lines and erecting commercial or industrial scale induction loops. The government/courts would then say to themselves - we either side with modern civilization as we know it, or a pack of free-loading bullshit artists. Hmmm, tough choice.

Re:British Power Supply (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33880216)

I think it comes under sabotage since it mucks up the power factor, but I'm thinking it would have to be a lot of cable very close to the high voltage lines unless you just want to run one or two flouro tubes and have something else to start them.

Re:British Power Supply (4, Informative)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | about 4 years ago | (#33880248)

if you live near high voltage cables run cables beneath to tap of electricity by induction. People have been prosecuted in the UK for doing this.

How in the world do you prosecute someone for using an induction loop?

I mean, sure, you could prosecute them for trespass or something if you move your stuff onto their property/airspace, but if it's all on your own land, it's just EM waves flowing through the air. If the land owner has to put up with the radiation they didn't ask for, who is to say that they can't use it to induce a current?

Anyhow, I figure you might be trollin' seeing as how you'd have to get really close to get any measurable power via induction, but it is an interesting question in any case...

Those are good questions. Firstly, when you draw power using induction you are actually creating a load on the power supply. It's more-or-less the same as if you had spliced into the cable, but easier to hide and less likely to kill you. Secondly, building and using a coil for this purpose is a very deliberate theft of service with physical evidence (a coil, and usually a cable running to the thief's house). So yes, you can definately prosecute for this, even if there was no tresspassing.

As for distance, if you have a sufficiently large coil on the ground under powerlines then that is close enough to draw power.

This is actually a very common method to defraud electricity providers, particularly in informal settlements (squatter camps) where coils are easy to conceal.

Re:British Power Supply (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#33880208)

Fourth way, if you live near high voltage cables run cables beneath to tap of electricity by induction. People have been prosecuted in the UK for doing this.

Citation needed. I am sure that the loss would be insignificant compared to the total power in HV transmission lines.

Re:British Power Supply (2, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#33880242)

They almost certainly check how the power gets drained between certain stretches of cabling for maintenance purposes. If, for example, they notice a stretch of cable is losing 2KW of power more than they'd expect it could indicate damaged cable or that that the power is getting partially grounded somehow.

Re:British Power Supply (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880280)

if you live near high voltage cables run cables beneath to tap of electricity by induction

BUSTED: Mythbusters did it [mythbustersresults.com] .
You don't get nearly enough power.
video here [howstuffworks.com]

Re:British Power Supply (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 4 years ago | (#33880110)

Missing option: the inductive way. Requires land under high tension power lines. AFAIK, there is still a good chance that you will get caught.

Re:British Power Supply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880132)

Many of the high tension lines are DC now, won't work any longer

Re:British Power Supply (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33880200)

There is a risk of a meter reader noticing, but if you have a remotely-monitored smart-meter then this is an option. Popular with intensive pot-growers

The other side of that coin is that a pot grower in Australia with a lot of plants very well hidden in several large fibreglass water tanks was caught only because the meter reader noticed several cables going from the back of the meter box to the tanks.

Re:British Power Supply (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33879948)

Meter readers only read the meters they know about. There is nothing to stop me climbing up the power pole outside my house and clamping my own cables on to the mains supply. I would need to know what I was doing (this guy did, and I probably do to a smaller degree) and I would have to live with the possibility of death by electrocution. Somebody might notice the connection one day, most likely a repair crew working on a different job. It would be hard to hide because they would just follow the cable.

But say I had an electric vehicle with cleverly designed arms (like the gear on the top of a tram) which could reach up to the power lines, charge up, then fold up again. I could probably get away with doing that for years in the middle of the night, especially if I had signs on my vehicle suggesting some official status.

genius! (2, Funny)

Qubit (100461) | about 4 years ago | (#33880118)

But say I had an electric vehicle with cleverly designed arms (like the gear on the top of a tram) which could reach up to the power lines, charge up, then fold up again. I could probably get away with doing that for years in the middle of the night, especially if I had signs on my vehicle suggesting some official status.

Wait, so let me get this straight: You design an electric vehicle with special arms whose sole purpose is to reach up its arms at night to recharge, then sit there during the day as the battery drains out, then reach up again a night or so later and recharge again.

And you do this for years...

Brilliant!

Re:genius! (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33880150)

No, during the day you drive it around. Then stop where you can steal power during the night.

Re:British Power Supply (1)

rjames13 (1178191) | about 4 years ago | (#33880270)

cleverly designed arms

Pantographs.

Re:British Power Supply (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33880298)

cleverly designed arms

Pantographs.

Yeah thats the word but now I am thinking in terms of jumper cables with hooks on the end and a snare built out of 40mm pipe with a cable running along the inside. If you can bang in your own ground you might just need to snare the active. Design it for a fast charge. Could be the breakthrough that electric vehicles have been waiting for!

Re:British Power Supply (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 4 years ago | (#33880314)

Here in the UK mains cables run mostly underground. Assuming you are familiar with live working on underground cables it would be pretty easy to add an unauthorised branch and it would be almost impossible for them to find it.

Metering guys are only going to notice theft if you are retarded enough to do it at the metering position in a property that officially has electricity.

About his prosecution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879784)

So I guess the charges he was brought up on were negative, am I right?

Re:About his prosecution (5, Funny)

sincewhen (640526) | about 4 years ago | (#33879796)

I see you have posted AC...not DC.

Re:About his prosecution (1)

dattaway (3088) | about 4 years ago | (#33880026)

The RIAA would have been more Direct. Charged him with each "making available" a potential of 50 times the country's possible generation capacity.

Re:About his prosecution (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#33880086)

Well, if he had managed to copy that energy, I guess he'd soon get a Nobel prize.

Re:About his prosecution (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 years ago | (#33880192)

It doesn't really matter, the news is still current.

Re:About his prosecution (2, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#33880268)

I see you have posted AC...not DC.

Nah nah na nah na... Thunder.

steal 30k get jail 30 trillion get nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879788)

The UK is just as screwed up as the US. (The citizens are not the problem - we love you UK, but your government ******g bites.)

Actually, it's even more screwed up. (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 4 years ago | (#33879848)

The guy who stole GBP30k of energy for 22 apartments gets nine months in jail. The guy who helped him and many, many other people steal power for 1,500 homes gets...basically nothing, if the article is to be believed. An eight month suspended sentence (so all he has to do is not commit crimes for eight months), plus a little under 19 days of community service.

To put this in perspective, assuming that the remaining 1,478 properties that he provided stolen power to used only 1/4 as much as the 22 apartments did (unlikely they used this little), that's still a little over half a million pounds, on top of the 30k that put another man away for nine months. More likely, it was closer to two million quid's worth of electricity whose theft he facilitated -- 67 times more crime, and he serves no time at all if he's a good boy for a few months.

Pretty pathetic.

Re:Actually, it's even more screwed up. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33879910)

Well TFA doesn't have any details, but the the guy that got 22 months was a landlord. I'm assuming he wasn't exactly passing the savings along to his tenants....

I submitted the article; (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | about 4 years ago | (#33880246)

I got the details about the landlord being prosecuted from here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4m7ouHfb-GwJ:findarticles.com/p/news-articles/people-the-london-uk/mi_8046/is_20100919/revolting-behaviour/ai_n55280555/+derek+brown+Haresh+Parmar&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk [googleusercontent.com]

I figured that a Google cache link wasn't quite worthy of being linked in the submission so I just included some details from that article.

There is nothing online with much detail about how exactly the connections were made or how the end users/landlords were charged for them (eg one-off payment for connection to free juice, or some kind of billing) other than a police spokesman saying "OMG dangerous" which they can be relied upon to say about anything.

Re:Actually, it's even more screwed up. (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 4 years ago | (#33880294)

It looks like he got 9 months and under UK law will serve half of that if he keeps his nose clean and resists the urge to shank somebody whilst in the big house. More details below.

None too happy [haringeyin...dent.co.uk]

Easy to do, awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879790)

It's easy to do and totally undetectabe - I've been on pirate power for yea

Picture (1)

Palmsie (1550787) | about 4 years ago | (#33879800)

Nothing suspicious going on in that picture.

Re:Picture (1)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about 4 years ago | (#33880238)

The sad part is, since moving to Honduras, that just looks like a power pole to me, I had to go back up to look at it to see what you meant.

Bad puns aside... (2, Interesting)

xenobyte (446878) | about 4 years ago | (#33879806)

If people were willing to use this scheme to get cheaper electricity, I guess the electricity is too expensive.

Here in Denmark over 90% of the amount we pay for electricity is various taxes. No wonder people turn to alternative solutions because once you've done yours and switched bulbs, appliances and everything to the most environmentally friendly versions available, you still get a hefty bill and there's nothing (more) you can do about it - except perhaps to steal the electricity that is... ;)

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33879918)

... you still get a hefty bill and there's nothing (more) you can do about it - except perhaps to steal the electricity that is... ;)

Produce it? (PV, methane [loganenergy.com] fuell-cell [cfcl.com.au] ... even riding your exercise bike while your spouse irons the cloths? ;) )

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33879998)

... you still get a hefty bill and there's nothing (more) you can do about it - except perhaps to steal the electricity that is... ;)

Produce it? (PV,

Not in the UK!

Re:Bad puns aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880066)

... you still get a hefty bill and there's nothing (more) you can do about it - except perhaps to steal the electricity that is... ;)

Produce it? (PV,

Not in the UK!

Yeah, rain and fog and all that. I reckon the poms will need to stick to "riding the exercise bike" solution, isn't it?
(btw, OP mentions Denmark. You know, the only country to have an Australian princess... at least for the moment).

Re:Bad puns aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879924)

I don't know. Is electricity in London made up of 90% taxes? That it is stolen is certainly evidence that people will try to avoid paying for something if they are able.

Many grow ops are busted for theft of power. Higher end grow ops are able to afford to run off the grid (diesel generators or what-have-you) but it is cheaper to steal power. Until you get caught of course. :)

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

cappp (1822388) | about 4 years ago | (#33879976)

It's closer to 5% than 90%. Scottish power [scottishpower.co.uk] notes that

standard VAT charge which runs at 5% for domestic energy, the government has introduced several obligations that all energy suppliers are required to deliver. The cost of meeting these obligations is included within your energy prices.

. Ofgem, the electricity and gas market regulators, support that claim in their 2008 report [ofgem.gov.uk] (pdf). There's also an 8% environmental levy which some would lump in with tax. It's interesting to note that the UK has the 3rd highest domestic energy prices before tax out of a selection of EU states but is one of the cheapest in terms of domestic gas.

Re:Bad puns aside... (2, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | about 4 years ago | (#33879940)

I believe it was the landlord doing this, not the tenants who probably paid the landlord for utilities. And people will always want free stuff.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

srothroc (733160) | about 4 years ago | (#33880020)

Either it was expensive or people love to make "easy" money. I'm guessing it was the latter, really; there are no mass electricity thefts that I know of.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 4 years ago | (#33880028)

Just out of curiosity, how much do you pay over there?

For comparison: I'm in a major city in Texas. On my last electric bill, I was billed for about 589 kWh of electricity, and paid $78.28, including taxes and all fees. That number includes a $17.10 installation fee (first month), so if I use roughly the same amount of electricity on the next bill, it might be a little over $60.

Of the total, $2.07 is listed as "sales tax." That would be somewhere just over 2% of the total amount. Now, maybe there are other taxes that I don't see on the bill---I've never bothered to look into it---but you can bet Texas law is pretty friendly to the energy sector. Assuming there aren't, and assuming that you pay the electric company $60/month, and that 90% of the total amount you'd pay is in taxes....you would be paying $600/month (~430 EUR) for the amount of electricity that I use. Which, incidentally, is more than my rent.

Please tell me that isn't the case, or I'll run off screaming into the night about the evils of Scandinavian socialism.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33880142)

Though considering most of that comes from coal/etc., it might as well be that the price doesn't quite cover all the costs...

(surely the differences in vehicle fuel prices are quite close to what you ask about)

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | about 4 years ago | (#33880168)

Last winter I was averaging £100 ($150 approx) a month on electricity and the same again on gas.

That is in a 3 storey, 3 bedroom modern town-house in London. The rent is £400 a month
with a housing association. The rent would be at least double or probably triple that
if it was with a private landlord. To buy a similar property in my current area I would
need to find somewhere in the region of £400,000.

Property prices in London are mental.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about 4 years ago | (#33880174)

Not sure about the UK but in australia I'm getting electricity bills of about $200/month, with only the usual tv/computer/lights on each evening.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 4 years ago | (#33880312)

I live in Copenhagen, Denmark and my last bill were some $148 for 304 kWh all included - or some 49 cents per kWh compared to your 13 cents. Some 43% of the bill comes from various taxes and public commitments, so the non-taxed price is 28 cents per kWh. However, it should be noted that some if this is flat rate subscriptions, which has a larger influence on my low power consumption. Taking these into account, your usage of 589 kWh would cost some $247 in Denmark or 42 cents per kWh. So, it would be resonable to assume a x3 price increase in power bill going from Texas to Denmark. Give or take a bit.

My bill, let me show you it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880318)

In the Netherlands I pay:

Euro 1.99 per month tax, plus
Euro 0.08496 per kWh for electricity, plus
Euro 0.11140 per kWh energy tax, plus
Euro 0.03731 per kWh sales tax/VAT.

For a typical monthly bill (300 kWh), this works out to:

Energy usage = 300 * 0.08496 = 25.49
Tax = 1.99 + 300 * (0.11140 + 0.03731) = 46.60

For a total of 25.49 + 46.60 = 72.09 Euro.

As you can see, tax is 65% of my montly bill.

Don't start about my water bill, that's even worse.

Re:Bad puns aside... (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33880130)

Considering what "pleasure" it is to deal with some London landlords, and the perpetrator here might well be one of them, it's not too improbable that many people actually didn't know they were stealing.

Harry Tuttle? (2, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | about 4 years ago | (#33879814)

Tuttle, or was it Buttle? Anyhow, clearly a rogue handyman on the loose. Better arrest somebody.

Re:Harry Tuttle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879970)

We'll get the police with long billed baseball caps right on it.

Re:Harry Tuttle? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33880010)

Unfortunately, Lint and Kurtzzman are busy dealing hotels in breach with the ISP laws [slashdot.org] for the moment.
Can this wait for a while? Or maybe you should check if he wasn't dormanted already?

150 Hours of Community Service (5, Funny)

Krittick (1740572) | about 4 years ago | (#33879822)

Sounds like he already did the community service.

Oh? (1)

RepugnantJohn (1492011) | about 4 years ago | (#33879864)

Quite shocking, I'd say.

Buttle, anyone? (1, Offtopic)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33879872)

...errr, I mean Archibald "Harry" Tuttle.
Don't know why, but I don't find surprising at all the guy is from the same country as the The Pythons.

Re:Buttle, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880008)

What do The Pythons have to do with it?

Re:Buttle, anyone? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33880034)

They do have in common one person, his name starts with G... And the same type of black humor.
Do you think is ironic, rather?

Re:Buttle, anyone? (1)

lxs (131946) | about 4 years ago | (#33880236)

Michael Palin was in that one as well.

Re:Buttle, anyone? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880064)

#!/usr/bin/python
import electricity
#????
print 'profit'

Snap! (0, Offtopic)

hipwah (1920094) | about 4 years ago | (#33879908)

I've got the power...

Power should be free anyway (1)

shawn443 (882648) | about 4 years ago | (#33879946)

Of course one way or another you pay for everything but power should be lumped into the library, schools, and roads category. If without it people freeze to death [cnn.com] then any worthwhile government should see that nobody gets a monthly bill for it. I don't feel sorry for these so called public utility companies.

Re:Power should be free anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33879952)

Someone skipped Economics 101.

Re:Power should be free anyway (1)

lxs (131946) | about 4 years ago | (#33880240)

Either that or their class wasn't taught by a rabid Randroid.

Re:Power should be free anyway (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33879986)

No point having free power if you can't afford a home so everybody should have a free house too.

(apologies to R.A.H who covered this at the end of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress).

Re:Power should be free anyway (1)

pookemon (909195) | about 4 years ago | (#33880054)

And how would they pay for it? More income tax? More VAT/GST etc.? So then people can't afford the house that the power is supplied to.

Of course people would starve to death without food.

Or die of thirst without water.

Roads/Schools/Libraries (WTF?) are not free in any country. Sure, you may not walk up and pay on the day, but you pay for it through a multitude of taxes. Where do you think the goverment gets the money from to be able to provide these facilities? Oh I know, they print it... Right?

Re:Power should be free anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880100)

Nationalisation of the electric utilities would be a good start. Higher (progressive) income taxes could pay for any shortfalls.

Free housing, food, and water would also be a good thing. After all, people will be homeless, starving, and dying of thirst without them.

I'm glad you're on the correct (socialist) side of the important issues.

Re:Power should be free anyway (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33880106)

I almost remember how the central heating was used when there was just one metering device for each stairway (which would one for 30 apartments where I am). People... just don't possess the sense of moderation in such background utilities (which of course ended either with over-engineered heating plant, or every radiator being at most lukewarm)

And I don't know about Michigan / I won't read the link obviously - but where I live there are also places to keep oneself warm; and vast majority of freezing deaths are due to drunkenness.

Re:Power should be free anyway (0, Troll)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | about 4 years ago | (#33880120)

The problem with this is that low users of energy will be subsidising the heavy users of energy. That's not just "unfair", but it also would cause some messed up flow-on effects in terms of behaviour and economics, that we want to avoid due to the real cost of producing this energy. It removes any incentives for people to use more energy-efficient appliances, and removes the incentive from manufacturers to invest in creating more energy-efficient appliances.

You could alleviate some of those problems with more government interference, but these tend to be kind of hamfisted and ineffective when compared to economic incentives. Not to mention they cost more money to maintain/enforce.

Much better to use a "user pays" system and provide some kind of subsidy to those who need it.

No Pirate, a Thief (5, Insightful)

Grismar (840501) | about 4 years ago | (#33880042)

Since I think the distinction between thieves and pirates can be a useful one in the debate on software piracy, I'd say we're dealing with a thief here - not a pirate.

Re:No Pirate, a Thief (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#33880292)

This guy could very well have a peg leg and eye patch for all you know, that would definitely qualify him as a pirate.

More power to him! (1, Offtopic)

blankoboy (719577) | about 4 years ago | (#33880048)

Get it?

Re:More power to him! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880144)

No. Shut up.

Not stolen, just borrored! (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#33880058)

He didn't steal the power, he just borrowed it. For every electron that went into his wires, he sent one right back to the electric company. So he just copied them. Or something.

Re:Not stolen, just borrored! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33880088)

The electrons were kidnapped, imprisoned and for all we know used for immoral purposes by being forced to download 4chan. Thats no way to treat a bunch of 14 billion year old atomic particles. The UN should so something about this. Please, won't anybody think about the fermions?

Article short on faces (1)

David Off (101038) | about 4 years ago | (#33880094)

The article doesn't give any useful information about what was actually going on and doesn't mention dodgy landlord Haresh Parmar cited in the summary.

Anyone have his number??? (1)

hipwah (1920094) | about 4 years ago | (#33880114)

I would _really_ like to hook up with him...

An electrical pirate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880156)

Hope he doesn't get any arrrrrcing!

In 22 of HIS appartments... (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#33880218)

And yet I believed my parents when they told me I should get a nice office-job because I would earn better than an electrician.

This is not piracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880320)

This is not piracy, its actual theft.

If you pirate a song, a computer program or a movie, you are merely making an unauthorized copy. You can't do that with electricity. It still has to be generated by burning fossil fuels and adding to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

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