Andrew Tanielian, Fort Worth Reporter
A Fort Worth landlord says he's being fined after one of his tenants tampered with a smart meter on one of his properties.
The city of Fort Worth is taking measures to reduce utility meter tampering.
Some customers hot-wire the electric meter outside their home, which can cut their bill by as much as half.
The city now requires all managers and leasing agents with triplexes or eight or more units to be an extra set of eyes on electric meters.
It also requires managers and property owners to go through eight hours of free training provided by the city in the next two years.
The measures are a part of a bigger plan to help reduce crime outside multifamily apartments and homes.
It can be tough for landlords and power companies to track down the culprits because the fraud is discovered after they move out.
TXU and Reliant Energy said they factor the loss into the rates everyone is charged for power.
Since 2009, Oncor Electric Delivery has been upgrading electric meters with smart meters. Oncor said it would have technology in place by early 2013 to pinpoint energy usage, including fluctuations from high to low, which could help it help it discover meter tampering.
Currently, Onocr relies on tips and random meter audits.
The company services about 3.4 million meters in the Metroplex and has replaced about two-thirds of them. Oncor has about 1 million to go and plans to be finished by the end of the year.
In addition, smart meters help curb meter stealing -- when people steal a meter from someone else's home and install it at their home to get free power. However, stolen smart meters do not work.