More than half (52 per cent) of marijuana grow operations in British Columbia are stealing power from the grid, says a new study from the University of the Fraser Valley. Add in all the opportunity cost of not selling that subsidized power to legitimate industriesand those grow ops are costing the electricity system $154-million per year.
That figure is like a five-per-cent surcharge on the electricity bills of the province’s other 2.2 million customers, say the researchers. Darryl Plecas and Jordan Diplock told the Vancouver Sun that their new estimate is about twice what they found in similar study between 1997 and 2003, partially because more theft is occurring as grow ops get bigger, increasing the return from tapping into the system. They say that smart metres, currently being rolled-out in the province, should cut down on the thefts. The study was not sponsored by the main electricity provider, BC Hydro.