MODESTO (CBS13) — Without any warning, the power was pulled from a Modesto home by a local utility.

The general manager of the Modesto Irrigation District couldn’t comment specifically on what happened at that home, because of customer privacy rights.

However, Roger VanHoy did say the district is allowed to turn off power without giving notice in cases where someone is stealing electricity, or there is a safety issue.

“If somebody’s in danger, you just have to turn it off,” the general manager said. “Because at any time there could be an explosion, a fire, a kid or family can be hurt inside and it’ll be instantaneous.”

Neighbor Diane Rieb says she’s not surprised the power was shut off.

“They fight all the time and smoke pot in the backyard.

Several neighbors describe it as a halfway home with countless problems.

“They had one renter that stayed there for a week, because all the electric, the wires were hanging out,” Rieb said.

The district says it’s cracking down on power diversions, as they’re known in the industry, that end up costing other customers. MID has detected 350 cases in the last year and half since installing smart meters. Many involve grow houses, which use massive amounts of power.

As for what was wrong at the darkened Modesto home, we don’t know. The utility won’t say.

The resident at the home agreed to do an interview with CBS13, but changed her mind at the last second and declined further comment on the advice of her attorney. She did say whatever necessary work is done, and she expects power back on relatively soon.

The district says its smart meters have saved $1.8 million in the last year and a half.


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