Do burglars turn off power?

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The first occurred on December 7, when 2,000 meters of 240 mm2 copper medium voltage cable were taken from the network that came out of the Alto Valle transformer station and ran along the road bridge. Replacing it cost $ 14,000,000.

In Mainqué, a 40 meter section of medium voltage was damaged, which caused the pumping plant to go out of service and all the neighbors were left without drinking water for several hours.

Some 20 users of Catriel have suffered from February 2020 to date about 25 outages caused by the theft of copper cable from a 10.4 KV line in the area of the Barranca de los Loros Oil Field. It was reported that this network is operated by the company Petróleos Sudamericanos.

In the case of dangers, the company mentioned the case that occurred in Colonia Marengo, near Cinco Saltos.  There, thieves cut medium and low voltage poles with a chainsaw, left users in the rural area without service but did not take the cable.  “Possibly they may have received an electric shock, that is why they did not carry out the robbery”, said the source. (SOURCE: RÍO NEGRO NEWSPAPER)

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This is a conscientious procedure based on the verification of the presence or absence of tenants in the house. What they do is to disconnect the electricity meters located outside the house in order to cut off the power, leaving the house without electricity, which is the target of the robbery. In this way, if there is no one at home, the alarm depletes its battery and they can enter the house with complete peace of mind.

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If the power is cut and the problem is quickly solved, it indicates that there is life inside and that, therefore, burglary is not a valid option. Therefore, with this novel system, burglars take advantage of the absence of the owners during the holiday period.

Although it is normal to use this method in residential areas to be quieter, commercial premises or central homes are not exempt from the danger of being robbed by this new technique.

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Using pager-type devices to turn a meter on and off, modifying the internal cards and placing photocells that turn off the meter when night falls are some of the technological mechanisms available today to steal electricity, according to Prepa.

Sánchez Rodríguez was in charge, in recent days, of training the agents of the Special Investigations Bureau (NIE) who will combat the theft of electricity and water. The man, who has associate degrees in computer programming and electricity, is also a refrigeration technician and electrical expert.

Prepa employees who work in the Copper-Cutting Division (Prepa’s area that handles theft problems) mentioned two other new methods: the use of photocells (sensors that are activated by light) and cutting an internal meter cable.

The photocells are placed inside a meter and work like a switch. When it gets dark it turns off the meter and resets its operation when the sun comes up, employees explained. “That way, when an employee goes, he sees that the meter is working,” they said.

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More than six million machines will be installed in homes, offices and industries, opening a new chapter in the history of human beings replaced by robots: the work of the person who measures consumption in the field will no longer be necessary, nor will the work of the crews that cut and replenish energy. Once the new meters are installed, everything will be done remotely.

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This technological evolution will bring benefits for users, but those who will gain the most will be the energy distribution companies. And a lot: in addition to drastically reducing their payroll, the new meters will register even the smallest consumption.

In Chile, historically the meter and the junction have been the property of the customer. At least until early 2018, 70% of meters were owned by users. The same was true for more than 84% of the splices: the installations that go from the poles to the meter.

At this point, Congress played a key role: Law 21.076, which was passed in January 2018, established that meters and junctions will become the property of the companies and users will have to pay for these devices through tariffs.

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