When you own your home, you purchase the home, the land that it is on, but you still rely on public services to keep it running. While you own the house, utility companies provide the electricity to power your home, the gas to heat your stove and the water you use. Most people do not think about the meter owned by the utility company and installed in your home.
The meters keep a close count on exactly how much of a specific utility is being consumed at your residence. One New Jersey utility company claims that residents are committing theft, of water that is.
The New Jersey utility company has begun an investigation into figuring out ways to reduce the amount of customers who have found a way to work around the system and obtain water. The Passaic Valley Water Commission has stated an interest in possibly offering cash rewards for those who contact them about specific instances of water threat.
Amnesty has been considered as a part of the program to reduce water theft by granting consumers who report faulty water meters a period where they would not have to pay a penalty. Although many people simply pay the bill when it comes and never really pay attention to the meter, the utility company says that some consumers have actually installed pipes that would bypass the meter or knowingly installed a faulty meter
The utility company named one instance in which an apartment building consumed unreported water for almost 20 years, resulting in $1.6 million in back charges and interest. The utility company settled with the owner for $150,000.
While you are under contract with the company to make payments for water used, it can be considered theft when a person intentionally restructures the piping system to avoid making payments.
Source: chron.com, “NJ utility looks to crack down on water theft,” Sept. 22, 2011