British Columbia - 18,000 Grow Ops Suspected

By Bajeda · Sep 1, 2006 · ·
  1. Bajeda
    BC Hydro: 18,000 grow-ops suspected

    Homes that show unusually high power use can be targeted by cities in hunt for pot growers


    Abnormal consumption is defined as any residence that uses more than 93 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per day (the average home uses 31 kWh a day). ​

    Chad Skelton, Vancouver Sun

    Published: Thursday, August 31, 2006
    Nearly 18,000 homes in B.C. -- about the same number of residences as in all of West Vancouver -- use suspiciously high amounts of electricity, often a telltale sign of a marijuana growing operation.

    Under provincial legislation introduced last spring, municipalities can request a list from BC Hydro of all addresses with abnormally high power consumption -- making it easier for police and city inspectors to target growing operations.

    Abnormal consumption is defined as any residence that uses more than 93 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per day (the average home uses 31 kWh a day).

    In July, The Vancouver Sun filed a freedom of information request with BC Hydro asking how many of its residential customers fit that definition.
    The reply: 17,900. In comparison, there are 17,299 homes in West Vancouver.

    Hydro said it was unable to provide a city-by-city breakdown of where the high-consumption homes are located, because it has not yet produced any such lists for municipalities.

    But a rough estimate based on each city's share of B.C.'s population suggests there could be 2,500 high-consumption homes in Vancouver, 1,700 in Surrey and 900 in Burnaby.

    And Delta -- which has just eight officers in its entire drug section -- could soon be getting a list of about 450.

    Sgt. Harj Sidhu, head of the Delta police drug section, said dealing with that volume of tips will be a challenge.

    "Is it going to be easy? No," he said. "Obviously that's going to mean we'll have to come up with some systematic approach to deal with those numbers. We're going to have to start whittling that list down."
    Sidhu said the drug unit may require extra officers to tackle the list or could risk "burnout" among his staff.

    Vancouver police spokesman Const. Howard Chow agreed the lists could pose a challenge.

    "Undoubtedly, if the numbers are huge, it will take a while to get through them," he said.

    Growing operations require massive amounts of electricity. But until recently, BC Hydro, citing privacy legislation, would only release information on a home's electricity consumption to police or municipal inspectors if they already had an address under investigation.

    Under the new law, Hydro and other electricity providers will be required to provide -- to any city that asks for it -- a list of all addresses in their jurisdiction with high consumption, plus two years' billing records for each address.

    Sidhu said he hopes those billing records will help police decide which of the hundreds of addresses to target -- since the largest growing operations also use the most electricity.

    "Logically speaking, that's the only way we'd be able to deal with it," he said.

    Hydro and the police caution that not all homes with high electricity consumption are growing operations.

    Hot tubs and swimming pools, for example, can cause increased electricity use.

    BC Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno said the utility will provide municipalities with a software tool to help them interpret the data -- by, for example, identifying consumption patterns that are consistent with winter baseboard heating.

    Moreno said the utility has so far received only one request for consumption data from a municipality and should be sending out its first list of addresses within the next month.

    She wouldn't identify which municipality had made the request.
    While police will have access to the electricity consumption lists, the information can also be used by city inspectors and fire departments to shut down growing operations without a criminal investigation.

    If this is the case in Canada then the US is surely worse. This has always been swim's biggest fear to consider when he thought about growing, and is what dissauded him from trying it while in the US.

    Even if you are extremely careful and watch what you do, they may get you for a slip-up you didn't anticipate.

    Share This Article


  1. Sklander
    A friend of SWIM's just got busted with a grow-op... SWIM has thought about growing again, but will not do it in the United States... Maybe in Canada...
  2. Nagognog2
    A friend of mine was watching a kiddie-quiz show at home in Australia. This was about a week ago. It went thus:

    "Little boy, what is the name of the prime minister of Australia?" Little Boy: "Mr. Howard." "50 points! Good job! Now what's the name of the prime minister of Great Britain?" Little Boy: "I don't know. I'm visiting from Canada!"

    "Okay then...what is the name of the prime minister of Canada?"

    "I'm not sure, but my parents call him that damn Harpie!"

    "Okay Little Boy. You get the 50 points!"

    True story. Seems Mister Harper is not very popular. My friend couldn't wait to call me to tell me this!
  3. Thirdedge
    Swim knows of indoor growers who rewire their homes so they can take power before it goes through the meterbox so as to keep their power usage far below anything suspicious. Swim would imagine this trend to be common worldwide thus making regular people with lots of apliances look more suspicious than auctual growers.
  4. Beeker
    SWIM grows with a 250HPS and SWIM regulary throws "this shyt is getting old" hooka parties at least once a year.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!