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Homer Electric

Homer Electric Association’s office in Homer, Alaska. (Daysha Eaton/KBBI)

Alaska’s Homer Electric Association is suing a Sterling man for stealing what it said is more than $325,500 in power over seven years — the co-op’s biggest reported instance of electricity theft to date, according to KTOO.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Homer District Court, alleges Sterling resident Max Finch used a wiretap for years to avoid paying for energy for his business, Alaska Canoe and Campground. Finch said he didn’t know about the wiretap or the stolen electricity and that it was the doings of a previous property manager.

It’s the second time HEA says it’s discovered the Sterling Highway campground and RV park stealing power.

“We’re generally not comfortable with anyone diverting energy because what they’re really doing — they’re not just taking from HEA, they’re taking from all of our members,” said Keriann Baker, HEA’s director of member relations. “Because those costs are being passed onto all of us as a collective, as a cooperative.”

Baker said linemen discovered the tap this fall when they went to investigate why a meter display had failed — something that in itself is routine.

But while they were at the property, they found evidence of tampering and later discovered what looked like a man-made hole in the ground by an electric transformer pole. Underground, they found two wires that were clamped onto a service line, according to the complaint.

When the linemen asked him about the wires, Finch told them an electrician he hired had put them there.

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