Wiregrass Newsroom: Stolen electricity becoming a dangerous trend in Dothan

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Allen Stowers has a tough job.  He disconnects electricity from homes when homeowners don't pay their bills.

But he's seeing a growing problem--residents trying to hook their electricity back up themselves--attempting to get it without paying for it.

It's a trend Dothan Utilities representatives say is becoming more prevalent.  They say they've seen nearly ten cases this year, and they think the economy is playing a role.

"It used to be in like certain areas, but now it's throughout the city. I mean we find them in all areas, in all neighborhoods," says Stowers, a Dothan Utilities Service Representative.

But it's something that has shocking consequences.

Not only is stealing electricity against the law, but representatives say trying to reconnect your own meter could cost you your life.

Stowers says just grabbing the meter the wrong way can send an electric shock through your body powerful enough to send you flying at least ten feet through the air.

"It's gonna knock them out," says Stowers.

So what do you do if you can't pay a bill? Luckily, there's one option at the Dothan Rescue Mission.  Project Care is a program helping residents make utility payments.

"We'll look at your situation, see how much you owe and what kind of loss of income you may have experienced, and take in those factors and see if we can and how much we can help you," says Brad Hardy, Executive Director with the Dothan Rescue Mission.

In the end, Allen says nothing is worth tampering with your life.

"Anybody sticking their hand in there is going to get electrocuted.  If you grab it in the wrong way, it's like pulling a pin on a hand grenade."

Reporter: Melissa McKinney