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Homeowners say prankers are shutting off their power

Jul 06, 2023


Feb 14, 2023, 7:12 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm


SALT LAKE CITY — Some Salt Lake City residents are extremely frustrated as they believe someone is toying with their outdoor breakers and shutting off their electricity on purpose.

“The dog just started barking for no apparent reason. We heard this strange sound, (and) the whole house went dark,” recalled Liz Montague.

Chris and Liz Montague suddenly lost power one night without any warning or reasoning.

“Went out and looked at the circuit breaker box. Chris did them all except the top one, which we couldn’t really see, and it looked sort of like ‘don’t mess with this particular main circuit breaker,”‘ Liz explained.

They tried calling Rocky Mountain Power but couldn’t see the technician until morning. And the next day, they found the possible cause.

“We found all sorts of tracks of kids running away,” Liz said.

The two were told they weren’t the only victims of this kind of prank.

“Some people, they run up behind a house, they turn the main breaker off,” explained Peter Bammes, an electrician for Dream Maker Electric Company.

And a few blocks away from Liz and Chris, Martine Smith shares a similar story.

“We heard this loud noise outside, and all the power went out in the house,” Smith said.

She said her neighbor heard noises outside and saw the possible suspects.

“(They) saw kids getting in a white SUV and taking off up the street. So he told my husband, ‘hey, there’s this prank going on, there’s probably nothing wrong, just check your breaker box,'” Smith explained.

All these prankers have to do is flip a switch on the back of the box to turn off the power to the whole house, and because of that, the fix is pretty simple.

“As long as you don’t take any covers off your electrical panel, and you’re just working through the covers, you can safely switch any of those breakers,” Bammes said.

But he cautioned not to put yourself at risk and let the professionals come if the power doesn’t come back on.

“If it doesn’t turn back on, then you have a bigger problem,” he said.

And victims of the prank think the people behind it should think of what could happen to someone who suddenly loses power when they need it.

“If someone had been on oxygen, if there had been a newborn in the house, it could be potentially life-threatening,” Liz expressed.

Rocky Mountain Power said homeowners could put a lock on their outdoor breaker box, but if you are a tenant, you’ll need to talk to your landlord about adding a lock.

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