HEA Sues Sterling Man Over Alleged Power Theft
If found guilty, man could owe nearly $1 million.
On Friday, Homer Electric Association filed a complaint in Homer District Court against a customer, alleging the theft of over $300,000 worth of electricity.
In the complaint, HEA claims that starting in 2014 Max Finch, the owner and operator of Alaska Canoe Campground and RV Park near Sterling, tapped into underground power cables to feed electricity to his businesses.
According to HEA’s Keriann Baker, co-op linemen noticed some suspicious wiring on Finch’s property and were able to trace it to what they described as a “fairly sophisticated” illegal power tap from which they allege he stole the power. Finch has claimed it was a former manager who was responsible.
The value of the losses HEA alleges from the theft is more than $325,000. Alaska law allows for damages up to triple the amount stolen, putting Finch potentially on the hook for a million dollars.
Baker, the co-op’s member relations director, said this is not the first time Finch has had a run-in with HEA. In 2013, she says he tampered with two meterbases and caused three transformers to explode. She wrote he was fined for those incidents.
Baker said besides costing all other HEA members more in the way of increased costs, tampering with power lines can cause fires, explosions, injury and death. She encourages any HEA members who suspect power theft to report it immediately.