Energy theft bills sent to governor

LANSING—Legislation designed to help prevent costly and dangerous energy theft is on its way to the governor for signing, said state Sen. Mike Nofs.

“In addition to being extremely dangerous, energy theft is also costly for customers, as utility companies offset the loss of revenue by raising rates for all users,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “These bills will help deter residents from tampering with and stealing electricity or natural gas by increasing fines or penalties.”

Senate Bill 1314, sponsored by Sen. Nofs, establishes sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of felony assault on a utility worker.

The legislative package also develops standards for utilities to shut off and re-establish service to locations where unauthorized use has occurred, creates penalties for electricity theft and criminalizes the assault of a utility worker performing his or her job.

Energy theft costs utilities approximately $6 billion annually.