2009 California Civil Code - Section 1882-1882.6 :: Title 3.5. Utility Services

CIVIL CODE
SECTION 1882-1882.6

1882.  Unless the context requires otherwise, the following
definitions govern the construction of this title:
   (a) "Customer" means the person in whose name a utility service is
provided.
   (b) "Divert" means to change the intended course or path of
electricity, gas, or water without the authorization or consent of
the utility.
   (c) "Person" means any individual, a partnership, firm,
association, limited liability company, or corporation.
   (d) "Reconnection" means the commencement of utility service to a
customer or other person after service has been lawfully discontinued
by the utility.
   (e) "Tamper" means to rearrange, injure, alter, interfere with, or
otherwise to prevent from performing normal or customary function.
   (f) "Utility" means any electrical, gas, or water corporation as
those terms are defined in the Public Utilities Code and includes any
electrical, gas, or water system operated by any public agency.
   (g) "Utility service" means the provision of electricity, gas,
water, or any other service or commodity furnished by the utility for
compensation.

1882.1.  A utility may bring a civil action for damages against any
person who commits, authorizes, solicits, aids, abets, or attempts
any of the following acts:
   (a) Diverts, or causes to be diverted, utility services by any
means whatsoever.
   (b) Makes, or causes to be made, any connection or reconnection
with property owned or used by the utility to provide utility service
without the authorization or consent of the utility.
   (c) Prevents any utility meter, or other device used in
determining the charge for utility services, from accurately
performing its measuring function by tampering or by any other means.
   (d) Tampers with any property owned or used by the utility to
provide utility services.
   (e) Uses or receives the direct benefit of all, or a portion, of
the utility service with knowledge of, or reason to believe that, the
diversion, tampering, or unauthorized connection existed at the time
of the use, or that the use or receipt, was without the
authorization or consent of the utility.

1882.2.  In any civil action brought pursuant to Section 1882.1, the
utility may recover as damages three times the amount of actual
damages, if any, plus the cost of the suit and reasonable attorney's
fees.

1882.3.  There is a rebuttable presumption that there is a violation
of Section 1882.1 if, on premises controlled by the customer or by
the person using or receiving the direct benefit of utility service,
there is either, or both, of the following:
   (a) Any instrument, apparatus, or device primarily designed to be
used to obtain utility service without paying the full lawful charge
therefor.
   (b) Any meter that has been altered, tampered with, or bypassed so
as to cause no measurement or inaccurate measurement of utility
services.

1882.4.  A utility may, in accordance with Chapter 3 (commencing
with Section 525) of Title 7 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, bring an action to enjoin and restrain any of the acts
specified in Section 1882.1.
   The utility may, in the same action, seek damages for any of the
acts specified in Section 1882.1.

1882.5.  It is not a necessary prerequisite to an action pursuant to
Section 1882.4 that the utility have suffered, or be threatened
with, monetary damages.

1882.6.  Any damages recovered pursuant to this title in excess of
the actual damages sustained by the utility may be taken into account
by the Public Utilities Commission or other applicable ratemaking
agency in establishing utility rates.


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