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MED officials: If someone was stealing our power, we would know

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MASSENA — With last week’s news that the now-closed Three Feathers Casino was powered by as much as $300,000 of stolen electricity after National Grid shut off their power, Massena Electric Department board members wanted to make sure the same thing couldn’t happen to them.

“If there was a big customer taking power from us, our losses would go up significantly,” MED Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon said.

And that’s something that MED Controller Jeffrey M. Dobbins said is not happening.

“We have not seen that,” he said.

MED board member Richard Maginn said he wanted to make sure the same thing wasn’t or couldn’t happen to MED.

“Why didn’t they notice that?” he asked.

“I guess it’s a little bit easier to monitor in a system our size. With something like that for National Grid, it’s like a drop in the bucket,” Mr. Dobbins said.

MED board member Richard J. Blais said he would like to think that if something like that happened in Massena, it would be caught pretty quickly.

“I would think you would be able to find it within a year,” he said.

Mr. McMahon said he was confident they would find it quicker than that.

“We check it monthly,” he said.

And those monthly checks periodically do turn up instances when people are being billed less than they should, but usually that’s because of equipment failure and not theft of services.

“From time to time, we have meters that may not be working as they should and people might not be getting billed properly, but we usually catch that sooner rather than later,” he said.

Another way Mr. Dobbins said they could catch someone potentially stealing electricity would be if their usage is consistently at one level, but then suddenly drops.

National Grid Media Relations Representative Virginia J. Limmiatis said given the case’s status as a pending investigation, she could not comment on the matter.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said the theft was something his office has been aware of for a while, but they waited until the federal case was ready to avoid interfering with the other case.

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