We rely on electricity for our homes, businesses, and industries. To ensure fair billing and maintain the electrical system’s integrity, utility companies use various measures to secure electric meters. One such element is the electric meter tamper tag, seal, or label.
But if you’re curious about how to remove electric meter lock or tamper tag legally, here’s a guide for you.
What is an Electric Meter Tamper Tag?
Before moving on to our how-to guide, you better know the meter tag and how it works. As well as be aware of the possible legal consequences and the penalty for cutting lock off electric meter.
A tamper tag is like a seal or label put on your electric meter by the people who provide your electricity (the utility company).
It’s there to make sure nobody messes with the meter because tampering can lead to inaccurate readings and the utility company losing money.
Why is There a Lock in Electrical Meters?
- The tamper tag works as a visual indicator that the electric meter has not been tampered with.
- It is a measure implemented by utility providers to protect against unauthorized access and possible revenue loss.
- The presence of a tamper tag acts as a deterrent, discouraging individuals from attempting to interfere with the meter.
- Breaking or removing the tamper tag is often the first step in tampering attempts.
Is It Legal To Remove Your Electric Meter Tamper Tag?
No. You can’t remove the electric meter tamper tag as a homeowner because it’s illegal. And without permission, if you try to do so, you’ll need to pay a penalty. In some cases, consequences include legal action and imprisonment.
Read the later section for more info about the legal consequences.
How To Remove Your Electric Meter Tamper Tag?
Before you continue, make sure you have the electric meter tamper tag removal tool. You’ll need a wire cutter, screwdriver, pair of gloves, pliers, etc. You can keep safety glasses as another option to reduce the chance of injury.
Let’s check the process of removing the electric meter tamper tag now.
Make Sure You Have the Permit
As we mentioned, attempting to remove an electric meter tamper tag can lead to legal penalties. However, doing it with permission and properly can save you!
So first of all, get permission from the utility company to remove the electric meter lock. Give a valid reason to do it and try to get a written document. Once you have the permission, you can proceed to the next step.
Disconnect The Electric Power In Your Home
To remove the electric meter, you’ll need to disconnect the electric power in your house first. It is to avoid electrocution or fire outbreaks.
Turn off all of the circuit breakers at the main panel, and don’t forget to switch off the main one. Remember to check whether or not the meter is still rotating.
Check the Electric Meter and Identify the Attachment Mechanism
Tamper-resistant tags for electric meters can be attached in different methods. So check the tamper tag carefully and understand the attachment mechanism on it. Then, choose the best approach to remove the tag.
You’ll see the meter is secured to the socket by a small metal ring. Along with the electric meter tamper tag, there’s a heavy metal ring and cover. Certain electric meters may have one lock ring, while others may have two.
Cut The Tamper Tag By Cutting It With Wire Cutters
Using wire cutters is the simplest way to remove the meter tamper tag. But sometimes, you may need to loosen the tamper lock depending on its mechanism. Use a screwdriver or pliers in such cases.
Back to cutting the tag, put on a pair of heavy rubber gloves to prevent electrocution. Use wire cutters to cut off the tamper tag.
Remove the Tamper Tag and Check If There’s any Damage
Take off the electric meter’s tamper tag. Be mindful of any residue or glue left behind; these need to be cleaned up or eliminated to guarantee the meter is operating correctly.
After removing the tag, check if there’s any kind of damage, like loose connections, exposed wires, or other abnormalities. If you find any issues like these, you should get professional help.
Removing an electric meter tamper tag can result in serious legal consequences. These may include:
- Fines: Expect substantial fines, covering lock replacement costs ($20 to $30) and installation fees (up to $150). However, it could cost you about $2500-$3,500 in certain situations.
- Criminal Charges: Tampering constitutes a criminal offense, inviting potential charges and legal actions.
- Service Disconnection: Utility companies can legally disconnect your service for tampering with meters or tags.
- Civil Lawsuits: Utility providers may pursue civil lawsuits to recover financial losses resulting from tampering.
- Electricity Theft Charges: Depending on jurisdiction and severity, you may also face probation or imprisonment for several months or even years.
What happens if I remove my electricity meter?
Removing your electricity meter is illegal and dangerous. It can lead to serious consequences, including fines and electrical hazards.
Will the power company know if I pull my meter?
Yes, power companies actively monitor meters. Removing a meter is easily detected, and companies take legal action against such actions.
It is only appropriate to remove an electric meter tamper tag in accordance with the law and guidelines. Without any permission, never try to cut your electric meter tamper lock or tag. It’s not just for avoiding legal charges. Even with a little mistake while doing this, you may accidentally set fire to your home or get an electric shock.