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Old 05 December 2013, 12:05 AM
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Tsk, Tsk Electric Car Owner Arrested For Stealing 5 Cents' Worth Of Power

here's no such thing as a free lunch, or free electricity. That's the lesson Kaveh Kamooneh, the owner of a Nissan Leaf electric car, is learning after spending 15 hours in jail for plugging his car into a public school's outlet without asking.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3022941/f...worth-of-power
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Old 05 December 2013, 12:40 AM
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Is there any way to confirm the actual cost for 20 minutes worth of electric car charging? I hesistate to take the word of a site that puts theft in scare quotes.

ETA: I am also hesitant to take the claim that it was "about 20 minutes" at face value, because that seems to come from the thief.
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Old 05 December 2013, 12:55 AM
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It takes about seven hours and approximately 22 kWh to fully charge a Leaf. The average price for electricity nationwide is about 13 cents a kWh which works out $2.86 to fully charge. If he had it plugged in for 20 minutes, that would be about 14 cents.
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Old 05 December 2013, 01:25 AM
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The OP is maddeningly short on details. Who pressed the charges, and why? How could it be proved, to justify arresting him? Why would anyone consider this theft, and call the cops (who show up a week later?!) instead of just asking the guy "Hey, can you please not use our outlet to charge your car?" Also, why is theft of something valued at such a low amount of money punishable by jail time there? Ridiculous.

I think there is more to this story because it just doesn't add up. Either someone had it out for this guy or wanted to make an "example" of him, or maybe he had a previous criminal history or something.
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:43 AM
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If the power wasn't metered, one could go by worst-case scenario. A typical 120V circuit is rated 15A - any more and the breaker trips. Under that reasoning, then 20 minutes is 600 Watt-hours, or 0.6 kWhr. Using that same 13 cent rate, you get 7.8 cents.

Under those same assumptions, for it to work out to 5 cents, the power rate would have to be no more than 8.3 cents per kWhr, and that's not unreasonable for the rate charge to a large user like a school.
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:49 AM
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So if charging an electric car at a school for a short time is "theft", what about charging a laptop in a hotel room, or charging my cell phone at work? Is that equivalent to stealing a pen from the supply cabinet? (Those are rhetorical questions, BTW).
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:52 AM
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The Georgia Power billing rate for schools is considerably lower than 13 cents an hour.
[I was going to cut and paste, but it did not do very readably]
http://www.georgiapower.com/pricing/....00_sch-15.pdf
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:53 AM
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Here's the story from some other sources.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4384435.html

This one has the most information of the ones I've seen so far:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...driver-in-jail

I get that it's a small amount, but he also admits he didn't have permission, and that there was no one to ask. He then says that most of the time seeking permission is an informal process, and also that not all taking of things without permission is theft. It sounds a lot like a person who got a speeding ticket for only going 5 mph over. It's true that a lot of people do it, and that most people get away with it, but you can't quite take the moral high road when you in fact did the illegal thing that you don't think you should be charged with, and you kinda knew you should have gotten at least "informal" permission.

Last edited by erwins; 05 December 2013 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:58 AM
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The hotel is not, because it is expected you will use their electricity. The cell phone at work is a matter of the individual policies at work; they may reasonably see it as work related equipment especially if you get work calls on it.

This story is different than those, IMO. There is no expectation that you will be charging a vehicle at a school. It seems closer to grabbing a handful of the assorted candy at a supermarket. Ok, not really because a supermarket sells candy; maybe it is closer to taking a pen used to write checks.

ETA: replying to Wildabeast. Thread is moving.
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Old 05 December 2013, 04:10 AM
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There's a difference with a place where you're a customer, like a coffee shop or hotel, and just using any old outside outlet. Imagine someone plugged into the outside outlet at your house. That's a lot different from plugging in at Starbucks.
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Old 05 December 2013, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Imagine someone plugged into the outside outlet at your house.
The reasonable response in that scenario is not to arrest a person and throw them in jail for a first offense, which is what happened here.
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Old 05 December 2013, 04:38 AM
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I agree. But I don't think that he should be arguing that he did nothing wrong.
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Old 05 December 2013, 08:05 AM
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If the car owner was electric, why couldn't he charge it himself?
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:03 PM
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Because the police hadn't charged him yet.

Buh-dum pum-pum! Thank you! I'll be here all weekend. Tip your servers and try the mulled wine.
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:21 PM
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When I worked retail many moons ago and would park my car behind the shopping centre I worked at I would often (as in every cold day) plug my car into an outlet outside the building. I didn't have an electric car, I had a crappy little car that would die on me if I didn't have the block heater charging if I left it longer than a couple of hours. It didn't occur to me then that I was "stealing" electricity from the mall owners. Certainly no one ever objected.
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:39 PM
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From what I see, the key thing is that he didn't ask, and doesn't seem to think he should have had to ask. Yet another anecdote disproving the adage that it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Seaboe
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Old 05 December 2013, 03:45 PM
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I'm curious about something. In the second of erwins' articles, it says the officer opened the unlocked car door and found a piece of mail with the owner's address on it. Why wouldn't the officer just run the plate and get the address that way?
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Old 05 December 2013, 04:07 PM
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There was another case of this involving an employee plugging in his Segway or scooter at work, and was fired. His defense was that employees bring in their own personal electronics - cell phones and tablets, not to mention fans, space heaters and coffee pots - and use company-provided electricity.

The issue wasn't the principle of the effort, but the amount of electricity. It was much more than for any cell phone or tablet (but not a space heater). In the OP, the principle of theft was held to a much higher standard than normal, based upon the amount involved. Items of similar value get stolen - shoplifted - by children and forgetful adults all the time, without arrest or incarceration. Something's fishy here to be sure.
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  #19  
Old 05 December 2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I'm curious about something. In the second of erwins' articles, it says the officer opened the unlocked car door and found a piece of mail with the owner's address on it. Why wouldn't the officer just run the plate and get the address that way?
In this state at least, that would have been an illegal search. I don't know why the officer wouldn't have just run the plate. Maybe this was a very new, or very bad, officer.
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Old 05 December 2013, 04:48 PM
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I was wondering about that too, but I figured a case like this would probably never get to the point where anyone was filing motions to suppress evidence.

Though that leads to another question. If the officer wanted to run the VIN instead of the plate, would he have been allowed to move something (like a dashmat) that was obscuring the VIN number?
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