Man uses 'contraption' to lower pot power use

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 25/07/2014

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An Ashhurst man has used a makeshift contraption to shave more than $1500 off his power bill in six months.

The problem is the contraption is illegal and his power bill should have been high as he was using lots of electrical equipment to grow cannabis at his house.

Alexander Graham Simpson, 47, pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday to theft and possessing equipment to cultivate cannabis.

According to a police summary, Simpson's car was found with the engine running in Palmerston North on June 23. Police began to search for him during the next few days, as they were worried about his welfare.

On June 25 they searched his property as part of inquiries.

Inside, they found a large number of items which could have been used for growing cannabis.

They included an environmental odour controller box, extraction fans, timer switches and an ozone generator. Police found Simpson the next day, and questioned him about the equipment.

He told them he had used them to grow cannabis at his property between six and eight months previously, and admitted he could grow it again some time in the future.

Another search of the property showed the meter box had been tampered with, with various items.

Those items, which the Manawatu Standard has chosen not to report, caused the meter box to show less power was being used than in reality. After inquiries with Genesis Energy, it was discovered Simpson had used $1688.90 worth of power for free.

He told police he had tampered with the meter because he wanted to mask the high power usage involved in his cannabis cultivation.

He said he had a strong drug habit, and most of the cannabis grown was for his own use.

Genesis Energy is seeking $1938.90 in reparation.

Judge Barbara Morris remanded Simpson until September for sentencing.

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- Manawatu Standard

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