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Old 01-28-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Spokane via Sydney,Australia
6,608 posts, read 6,966,626 times
Reputation: 2980

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I need some advice on the best way to handle this situation. My upstairs neighbours have been using an outside power outlet and extension cord to power the male tenant's diesel truck block heater this winter.

I have recently found out that the power outlet is coming off MY power meter. I'm unsure how often he uses it or whether this would cause a marked increase in my power bill or not. It's hard to tell from my power bills as they steadily increase each month in winter until the weather starts warming up and the furnace gets turned off again.

Apart from using my power, he also leaves the extension cord plugged in all day and the "live" end just laying in the driveway which I feel is unsafe in wet winter conditions, so I would like that to stop at the least.

Does anyone have any idea what kind of power cost a block heater would cause my electric bill? I researched it on the net but got so many different answers. If it's not adding a LOT to my bill then it's okay if they use it, BUT an acknowledgement of some kind that it is MY power they're using would be nice.

I know I can just turn the breaker to the power outlet off, but I don't want to start a "feud" with the neighbours either. I wish I had some way of knowing if this is adding to my electric bill and a likely estimate if so.

Should I take it up with the tenants first or raise the issue with the LL and let him handle it?
For all I know the LL knows they are using it and knows it is on my meter.

Last edited by Opyelie; 01-28-2010 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:13 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 20,952,792 times
Reputation: 12383
If the end result you are seeking is to get them to stop using the outlet then turn off the breaker except when you want to use it. No reason to go running to the LL when you have the solution to the problem in your breaker panel.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
6,628 posts, read 6,767,957 times
Reputation: 7744
The simplest way to solve this problem is to turn off or remove the circuit breaker. The outlet won't work, they won't be able to steal your electricity, and the problem is resolved without a lot of fuss.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:26 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
572 posts, read 867,750 times
Reputation: 470
The block heater is probably costing you around $10 a month. I'm guessing but that's probably close. My suggestion would be to let the landlord handle it. It's doubtful that the only circut on that breaker is an outdoor electrical outlet. A single breaker tends to service several outlets/fixtures so that may not be a practical solution. Besides, if you simply cut the power your neighbors will obviously notice and will probably wonder why you didn't just say something to them about it. The landlord is an authority figure in this case so let them do their job.

Just my two cents
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,569 posts, read 10,898,943 times
Reputation: 4979
I agree with T2T. I'm pretty sure that if I turn off my breaker for my outside outlets, that my garage door opener won't work anymore. So that isn't a great solution.

I would talk to the neighbors first, and voice your concerns over live extension cords in your outlets and the fact that it is costing you actual money. If that doesn't work, take it to the landlord, maybe you can get your rent lowered by a few dollars a month to compensate.

You mentioned that you just found out that that outlet is powered by your meter. Is it possible that they don't know that either? I've had tenants who assumed everything outside a duplex property was the landlord's expense and responsibility, including outside lighting. Maybe they think outdoor outlets are the LLs. A simple conversation might be all that is needed. Just a thought.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,533,343 times
Reputation: 1487
That's a toughy, as you don't want waves with your neighbor. You may just test the waters by being apathetic and just say, "You know I'm paying for your block heater, don't you?" His reaction will tell you what to do next. If he's unconcerned, or rude about it, then you can return the sediment and soberly tell him to stop it, or just pull the plug. If he's apologetic, then you can compromise. My guess is he hasn't given it a thought and will be surprised that he's costing you money and stress.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Fuquay Varina
1,749 posts, read 2,930,568 times
Reputation: 2320
I'd be a little more devious since he is stealing from you. I'd wait until he plugs in the heater and goes inside. Then cut the breaker. He can't complain, and if he does say that your breaker was tripped and you were wondering why as well lol
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:08 AM
 
Location: West Virginia
8,235 posts, read 17,169,496 times
Reputation: 4366
I had a LL do this to me!! I found out the Water pump was on my Electric Bill when the Electric company turn off my electric [I couldnt pay the bill. Anyway She come Yelling at ME cause she couldnt do laundry or anything!! This Lady Refused to let me have a Washer Yet she did your laundry & ALL her grown Kids & their Kids laundry!!! I MOVED!! Turn OFF that BREAKER! Tell him that since it seems to be on Your electric bill YOU want $15 a month for EACH month Hes used it in past & $15 IN ADVANCED Each month BEFORE you turn it back on! AND inbetween Uses They are to Remove the extention cord!!
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:54 PM
 
14,199 posts, read 26,341,715 times
Reputation: 8357
Best to turn off the breaker and use an extension cord for the opener temporarily.

An electrician can disconnect the feed wire to the outlet where it originates... most likely a junction box in the garage?

The simplest method is to remove the outlet and put a blank outlet box cover in it's place.

One word of caution... I wouldn't suggest changing any wiring without letting the landlord know. No problem turning off a circuit breaker...
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:55 PM
 
14,199 posts, read 26,341,715 times
Reputation: 8357
Best to turn off the breaker and use an extension cord for the opener temporarily.

An electrician can disconnect the feed wire to the outlet where it originates... most likely a junction box in the garage?

The simplest method is to remove the outlet and put a blank outlet box cover in it's place.

One word of caution... I wouldn't suggest changing any wiring without getting permission from the landlord know. No problem turning off a circuit breaker...

Depending on load and cost per watt x the number of hours... a heater "Can" use more than $30 a month... or more than a dollar a day.
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