BC Hydro loses more than $109 million annually to pot growers


Darryl Plecas,
University of the
Fraser Valley
Vancouver, BC, Canada — (METERING.COM) — June 28, 2011 – BC Hydro is believed to lose more than 1,246 GWh of electricity with an estimated value around $109.4 million annually to theft by marijuana growing operations, according to a recent study by University of the Fraser Valley researchers Jordan Diplock and Darryl Plecas.

In addition electricity consumed by operators of marihuana growing operations not stealing electricity, which in effect is wasted consumption, on account that it is put toward an illegal enterprise, is nearly 696.5 GWh with an estimated value around $43.7 million annually.
According to Diplock and Plecas, who have been researching marihuana growing operations in British Columbia over several years, there are an estimated 13,200 growing operations in the province, with the average size of growing operations having more than doubled in the past five years. Further of these 52 percent are stealing electricity, with their average size approximately 50 percent larger than those growing operations not stealing electricity.

Diplock and Plecas point out that these losses present a real challenge to supplying British Columbians with sustainable, low cost energy. In addition there are the societal costs, while the total annual revenue generated – tax free by criminals at the expense of British Columbians – by the domestic and export wholesale distribution of marihuana is in the range $3.6 billion to $4.5 billion.

“Given the British Columbia experience, which shows that growers are increasingly likely to steal power, and given that power costs should be expected to steadily increase significantly most everywhere in the near future, without serious attention, it would be safe to assume that the cost to the public (as high as it is now) will become increasingly expensive in the future,” conclude Diplock and Plecas.