Can I Share My Electricity With My Neighbor?
It’s no secret that heating your home with electricity can be expensive. Because of that, it may have crossed your mind to share the burden with a neighbor instead of paying for everything on your own. That begs the question: is this even possible?
Odds are, you can share electricity with a neighbor, but it’s important to have a safe line to connect their house to your power source and to check with your local safety regulations to ensure it is indeed legal to do so. Sharing electricity can be especially helpful during times of need or if you are just looking to save money in general.
Before you consider sharing electricity with a neighbor, here’s everything you need to think about to ensure you’re doing everything correctly—and legally.
Safety Concerns for Sharing Electricity Between Homes
To ensure you are safely splitting electricity between two homes, your connection to power and your neighbor’s must both meet all applicable codes. This is especially important since the wires will be above ground. Without the proper connection, you pose a higher risk for starting a fire and damaging your electrical wires and your property in general.
Local Ordinances for Sharing Electricity
Even if it is safe to run your electricity to a neighbor’s house, it’s important to check with local regulations. Some areas may have laws against receiving electricity from a supply that is not directly from their utility company.
Reasons to Share Electricity Between Homes
Sharing electricity between two homes comes with its disadvantages, but it can be worth it for a couple different reasons. Here’s why it can be beneficial to share electricity between you and your neighbor’s home.
Save Money Over Time
Running electricity between two homes will technically end up costing more, but you will be splitting the bill between two households, which can make the overall price per month lower. If you and your neighbor have similar needs for your daily energy usage, sharing between your two households can be a great way to cut your bill down without having to sacrifice using your appliances.
In Case of Emergencies
Even if you’re not equipped to share electricity with your neighbor for long periods of time, you still may be able to help in times of need. For example, if a bad storm takes out a neighbors power, you can let them hook up to your box for a few days until their power comes back on. This will help them stay inside their home instead of temporarily relocating, and you can even have them compensate you if it raises your bill.
Can Neighbors Steal Electricity?
Volunteering to share electricity with a neighbor is one thing. Stealing electricity, on the other hand, is illegal. Punishment for stealing it will vary depending on where you live, ranging from fines to jail time. Wherever you live, it will always be considered larceny. If you suspect someone is stealing your electricity, here are some things you can do.
Keep an Eye on Your Bill
It’s true that changes in the weather will cause your bill to fluctuate, but it should stay pretty consistent overall. If you can’t explain an increase in your bill, your neighbors may be to blame. Before you make that accusation, think about what’s been going on around your home. Some other common causes of spikes in your bills include:
- Cooking big meals over the holidays.
- Running the air conditioner or heater.
- What season you are running your HVAC system.
- If you have guests over that are using more electricity.
Examine the Meter and Pole
When you use electricity, a dial on the meter outside will spin slowly. Should you suspect someone is using your power, turn off your main circuit breaker and check the meter to make sure it stops moving. If it keeps moving, someone else may be tapping into your supply.
Markings on your electrical box can be another sign that someone is stealing electricity from you. Boxes for meter circuits will be green with or red markings. If those markings have been changed to green, it means someone has tampered with it.
Check Your Fuses
When someone steals electricity from you, it can cause a power surge, which can in turn blow a fuse. If the lights or other appliances in your home are flickering or going on and off, this could be a sign that a fuse is blown, and something outside may be causing the issue.
Look for Low-Hanging Wires and Cables
Another sign someone may be stealing electricity from you is if you have electrical wires that are hanging lower than usual near your home. You can also check for strange markings, usual symbols, or numbers on the power pole that connects the lines to your house. Should any of these things be happening, don’t touch it or try to fix it yourself. Call the electrical company or local authorities.
Look for a Cord On Your Property
While some electricity thieves are discreet, others are not. Sometimes, they may just run an extension cord into one of your power outlets on the side of your home. They may even attempt to bury it shallowly to cover their tracks. If something seems amiss, walk around your home’s perimeter, and look for any plugs that are out of place. If you happen to find one, follow it to find the culprit.
What are the different colors for electrical wires?
Typically, the electrical wires you will find around your home include black, red, blue, white, and green. Some higher-voltage systems for industrial motors and equipment also include brown, orange, yellow, gray, and green wires.
Can my neighbor pass a power cable over my land?
Property laws state that land owners also own the airspace around it, so someone else cannot install a power line over your property without getting your permission first. There are exceptions to this law, so it’s important to check with local property laws in your area.
How can I report that someone is stealing energy?
You can contact your electrical company or local authorities if you suspect someone is stealing your electricity. You can also complete a form through the National Grid website or call their tip line at (800) 322-2234.
So, Can You Share your Electricity with a Neighbor?
Yes, you can share electricity with your neighbors as well as you both have a secure connection. That said, it is important to check with local city codes and ordinances. Other than that, you should be good to go.
If you suspect someone is stealing your electricity without your permission, contact your local electric company for help. They will be able to determine if someone is stealing from you or if there is another problem going on with your system.
I am a copywriter and editor based in the Las Vegas area with nearly a decade of experience under my belt writing landing pages, cost guides, blog posts, newsletters, case studies, and social media content. I have a degree in Strategic Communication and experience working in both the account and creative spheres. My goal is to always be discovering new interests and bettering myself as a writer and editor along the way.
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