(WARNING!!!! Doing the electric meter “hacking” methods stated herein is PUNISHABLE under existing laws.)
Tampering the electric meter is not new or at least in our lifetime we heard it once. There are many ways to hack or tamper our meter in order to get a cut on our electricity bill. But most if not all forms of tampering the electrical meter are considered illegal. Thus, tampering our electric meter is punishable under RA 7832 (RA 7832 Anti-Electricity Pilferage Act of 1994) which provides for both fine and imprisonment up to 20 years.
The various ways of electricity theft ranges from actual tampering of the electric meter to using devices that electronically or electrically slows down or even stops the meter. The following “hacking” methods are the most commonly-known but prohibited under Philippine Law.
USING A MAGNET
The electric meter is an electro-mechanical induction device. It uses electricity (consumes about 2 watts to operate itself), moving parts (like the aluminum dial), and an electromagnetic (induction) motor. The electric meter uses eddy current to regulate the rotation of the dial in accordance with the actual consumption of electricity.
Hence the meter uses electromagnetism (induction) it is also possible to interfere its movement by using magnets. The magnets of considerable sizes should be placed directly at the sides of the meter. Here’s a video clip on how to use a magnet to hack an electric meter.
BORED HOLE & NEEDLE
This method involves direct tampering by boring hole or holes anywhere in the meter’s plastic casing. The tiny hole is then inserted with a needle which will stop or slows down the spinning aluminum dial. This tampering method can be easily spotted by the meter readers of the power company.
SALT & SUGAR
Salt can enhance the conductivity of water while sugar isn’t. See demo about it. But the properties of salt and sugar have nothing to do about tampering electric meter. Salt and sugar are placed or slip through the slit of the electric meter to distract the spinning dial. Worst, ants will swamp inside the meter for the thirst of sugar. :)
BREAKING THE SEAL
If putting a magnet and filling in salt & sugar on your electric meter is not enough, a breaking in is possible by cutting or removing the seal that locks the meter from tampering. This will lead to the next method– using a jumper.
JUMPING ALL THE WAY TO VECO
Using a jumper to skip the electric meter is an old-fashioned tampering method but it’s the easiest. It’s done by disconnecting the line after the meter and instead connect it directly to the service line of VECO (Visayan Electric Company). This tampering method is easily detected by authorities.
TURNING THE METER UPSIDE, DOWN
If enough of the aforementioned is not enough, then turning your meter upside down could be a way to stop the meter. But this is very obvious and will be short-lived because the company’s meter reader shall call the maintenance to fix it.
REVERSING THE METER
The meter can be stopped from running or even reverse its motion to reduce the actual consumption reading. This can be done by using the so-called CURRENT REVERSING TRANSFORMER which are sold in the form of a power-saving device. Someone told me of a bulb which has almost no effect on the electric meter. Somewhere inside that bulb maybe a current reversing transformer.
The most sophisticated way which i could not decipher is the use of a rectified DC load to prevent eddy current production in the meter. This will slows down or stop the meter. However, i haven’t seen a demo on how to do this.
I had a discussion on electric meter tampering during my radio show–“Pangutana” last Sunday (Dec, 11) over DyAB1512 and here’s the audio clip:
Again, the use of the aforementioned methods of hacking the electric meter is PUNISHABLE by Philippine laws. There are ways to reduce your electricity bill by not risking yourself to jail and damage your reputation. VECO has these tips and also this appeal to us consumers.