Energy Theft Costs Us All

Oct 6, 2023

BC Crime Stoppers is in a partnership with BC Hydro and Fortis in an attempt to stop electricity and natural gas thefts.  The cost of stealing electricity and natural gas is paid for by all customers.

Many, but not all, incidents of gas and electricity theft are related to illegal operations and are difficult to detect. What is usually reported to Crime Stoppers are probable indicators of criminal activity or drug labs.

Any tips made to Crime Stoppers regarding energy theft will be forwarded to FortisBC or BC Hydro for investigation.  Any tips submitted to Crime Stoppers are anonymous.   When a theft is confirmed, law enforcement becomes involved.

Energy theft generally involves finding ways to consume energy while bypassing a meter, so that it can’t be accurately measured, recorded or paid for. Energy theft can damage equipment and cause power outages and safety risks.


Suspicious signs of electricity theft:

You can help identify electricity theft by being aware of your neighbours and your neighbourhood. Notice strangers who may be hanging around and recognize suspicious activity and objects.

Signs of electricity theft are usually found on electrical wires and electricity meters:

Is the metal tag on the meter broken?

  • Are there cut wires sticking out of the meter?
  • Are there numerous wires or cables coming out of the meter?
  • Are there strange objects or tools jammed in the meter?
  • Is the meter missing?
  • Is a meter being worked on by someone who’s not a BC Hydro employee?
  • Are there wires that are cut or hanging off the power line itself?
  • Are there lots of extension cords snaking across a property for weeks at a time?


Tampering with meters or installing bypasses are major dangers to the public and employees:

  • Illegal connections to the gas or electricity system are never safe, as they haven’t been installed by qualified professionals.
  • In emergency situations such as fires, power lines or gas lines that have been compromised by theft may stay on even when emergency responders think they’ve been shut off.
  • FortisBC employees who work on the electricity and natural gas system are at risk of injury from meter tampering and energy theft.
  • Power surges due to electricity theft can damage the wiring in your home and can lead to electrical fires. The overloads can also harm your electrical equipment and appliances.
  • High loads that occur with electricity theft cause power surges and electrical system failures. This damages BC Hydro equipment and infrastructure, what we call the grid, and can lead to the premature failure of expensive electrical transformers.


Reporting electricity theft can protect you, your family, your neighbours, and your property. If you suspect electricity theft, contact your local police department or if you prefer to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers. You will not have to identify yourself and you will not have to testify in court:

Phone Crime Stoppers: 1 800 222 TIPS (1 800 222 8477) or leave a tip through our secure website link at