I'm an aspiring writer, but overall, I am an American who seeks a better America.
When I was 9 years old, my family and I moved into a community wherein houses were still being built. Our house was one of the first houses on the cul-de-sac where we lived. It had a large tree in front of it that everyone always complimented. I turned 10 that summer.
I started fifth grade in an entirely new school with new faces. It was somewhat scary to be in unfamiliar surroundings, although my family and I were still living in the same county as before.
The first summer that we lived in this same community was almost like an adventure. There was a lake not too far from where we were. As a matter of fact, it was even in walking distance. We had access to an assortment of recreational facilities such as tennis courts, a golf course, and a swimming pool among other things.
The first spring that my family and I were in that house, there was a house being built next to us. Frequently when I had come home, I found an AC electrical cord plugged into the electrical socket on the front part of our house. The carpenters building the house next store were literally stealing our electricity. I would unplug that AC electrical cord every time that I saw it plugged into that socket. However, these jerks kept on doing the same thing day after day after day.
I spoke with my parents about it, and I told them that perhaps we should contact the authorities and report it. After all, it was no different from someone breaking into a house and stealing all of the possessions inside.
My mother responded to me that perhaps those carpenters and construction workers had no other choice but to plug into our electricity. My father never seemed to do anything about it. I was so furious that I told them that I was even considering taking one of those heavy-duty scissors and cutting the AC electrical cord. My parents told me not to do anything that drastic inasmuch as they feared that it would lead to bigger problems than before.
What really bewildered me was that my father was always touchy about me, my sister and my mother turning up the heat inside the house during the winter months. We could all be freezing and shivering to death, and he still would tell us not to touch the thermostat. His solution was for us each to put on a sweater. The only problem was that I had never known anyone to wear a sweater inside their house.
My father even would pull the fuses out of the back of the stereo in our rec room whenever he didn't want any of us to use it to listen to or record music. He and my mother even got better locks on our doors, because they were concerned about the number of thefts and burglaries occurring throughout the nation because of a recession that was causing people to turn to crime. However, it surprises me that the idea of shutting off the electrical sockets on the outside of our house never crossed my father's mind even once. I would have thought of it myself, but I was just a little kid at the time who didn't know about those things.
Once our family was confronted with the problem of carpenters and construction workers stealing our electricity, it was as though my father did not know how to handle the situation. I could not figure him out, because he was my father who was supposed to have all the answers to everything and he was allowing complete strangers to steal electricity from his home that probably cost him more than what it would have cost him for us to turn up the heat in the wintertime. I guess that it was easier for him to jump on my case as well as my sister's and mother's case about turning up the heat in the wintertime than it was for him to take action to put a stop to the electricity theft that was going on right under his nose.
The name of the construction company was Ryland Homes. Back in those days, they had a reputation of engaging in deceptive business practices. As a matter of fact, my godmother and her husband had purchased a home from them not too far from where we lived, and my godmother was constantly complaining to them about manufacturing defects and all sorts of other problems with her home.
My father could have gone directly to Ryland Homes and lodged a complaint. Of course, back in those days, they probably would have ignored his complaint, unless he threatened to take them to court, that is. Unfortunately, the court system was not the most effective one in the nation where we lived. These scoundrels did what they did, because they knew that they could usually get away with it. Then again, my godmother was a whole new experience for them.
One aspect that my family and I all overlooked was the fact that our house did have a circuit breaker box in the basement. If we had only taken the time to find which switch on it controlled the electrical socket on the front of our house, we could have taken control of the entire situation and put a stop to it once and for all. If we had done so, the carpenters and construction workers who were building the house next door to us would have been left with no other choice but to acquire their own electrical generator instead of stealing electricity from our house.
1. Your Circuit Breaker Box Controls The Availability Of Electricity Everywhere In Your House
If you ever confront the same outrageous situation that my family and I encountered when I was 10 years old, you have an easy, quick, and effective way of nipping the problem in the bud. All you have to do is find the particular switch on your circuit breaker box that controls the electrical socket on the outside of your house from which electricity is being stolen and flip it off to stop the flow of electrical power to it.
Now, before you do anything, first, you have to determine whether your house has a circuit breaker box or a fuse box. Many of us believe that the two are the same thing. Unfortunately, they're not. I didn't know about it myself until recently. Cristina Dinulescu explains the difference between the two in her article titled "Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker – What Is The Difference & Which Is Better?."
Once you have established that you have a circuit breaker box in your house, you can proceed to search for the specific switches on it that turn off the electrical sockets on the outside of your house; and I am urging you to turn off all of them, because turning off one of them will only cause the electrical power thief to plug into any other electrical socket on the outside of your house that has not been turned off.
What I would suggest is that you and one other family member of yours get walky-talkies or cell phones to communicate with each other while you are at the circuit breaker box and your family member is at the specific outside electrical socket that you want to turn off. Of course, you're going to need to plug something into the particular electrical socket that you are trying to turn off that will continue running until no electrical power is coming out of that same electrical socket. For example, you could plug a blender into it.
Once you and your family member are at your respective places, you then need to flip off and on each switch on your circuit breaker box individually until you find the one that shuts off the flow of electrical power to the electrical socket on the outside of your house that you are trying to shut off. Set up a system in which your family member calls you on his or her cell phone or radios you on his or her walky-talky to let you know that you have selected the correct switch on the circuit breaker box that controls the electrical socket outside that you are trying to shut off.
Then once you find the correct switch on your circuit breaker box, you want to stick some kind of opaque tape on which you can write on the area directly next to that same switch so that you can put a note on the back of it that that particular switch is the one that you or your family member wants to switch off before the last person leaves your house every day for work or school and the first person who comes home wants to flip back on.
You want to repeat these same above-described steps for whatever other electrical socket outside your house that you don't want any stranger using. The type of opaque tape that you use depends on what will stick to the side of the particular switch that controls the electrical socket outside your house. Opaque duct tape is probably the best kind of tape to use in that event, because it won't lose its adhesiveness after so long.
Once the people who have been stealing your electrical power realize that they no longer have access to it, they're going to leave your electrical sockets alone. In principle, they should not even be trespassing on your property in the first place. Of course, that is another article for another time.
Electricity was not cheap back when I was 10 years old. It hasn't gotten any cheaper since then. Therefore, it always helps to stay ahead of the game whenever an electricity thief is in your midst.
2. What Do I Do If I Have A Fuse Box Instead Of A Circuit Breaker Box?
Now comes the million-dollar question. What can you do about electricity theft if you have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker box? Well, one thing you don't want to do is mess up your fuse box. In this case, you're going to address the problem by making the electrical socket on the outside of your house physically inaccessible to anyone but you and your family members. YouTube Massive Electric explains what you can do in this same situation in his video below.
There Are Security Measures To Limit Who Can Access The Electrical Sockets On The Outside Of Your House
The name of the game is to find something like a bell box that you can enclose the electrical socket on the outside of your house and lock it to make it inaccessible to anyone except for you and your family. This may not be the cheapest way to address this situation; but if you have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker box in your house, it may be the only way to stop strangers from stealing your electrical power.
Now, I completely get it. Nobody likes to install bell boxes on the outside of their house. It can get involving. However, losing money to electricity theft is going to be much more stressful for you than learning a new skill.
You could always replace your fuse box with a circuit breaker box, but doing so could cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 as explained in akelectricalllc's article titled "Should I Replace My Fuse Box With a Circuit Breaker?." Then again, doing nothing at all about the electricity theft could cost you more than $2,000. Therefore, it might be worth it for you to invest that kind of money to have an effective way of stopping electricity thieves from zeroing in on you.
3. My Final Thoughts Regarding This Topic
Despite that most Americans are honest people, there are going to be unscrupulous individuals who will do anything to cut corners insofar as they will steal from others to do so. Nobody has to fall prey to electricity theft if they know how to prevent it.
Shutting down an electricity thief can be as easy as going to your circuit breaker box to do so. Bell boxes can be purchased and installed to stop electricity thief in his or her tracks before they can even access the electrical sockets on the outside of your house. Once these scoundrels realize that they're not going to be freeloading off of your utilities, they'll take their criminal activities elsewhere. However, doing nothing about it could cost more than what you'd pay to address the problem once and for all.
A Poll For Americans Who Want To Put An End To Consumer Fraud
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Jason B Truth
Jason B Truth (author) from United States of America on August 21, 2021:
Ladies and gentlemen? Electricity thieves are a reality. Read my article above to find out how you can protect yourselves from them.