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I was hesitant to post this tutorial, seeing as how it could get your utilities turned off if you were caught doing it, but I thought it deserved a little attention if for no other reason than to illustrate an easily fixable vulnerability in the way utility companies currently read meters. To be completely honest with you, I'm not 100% sure how, or even if this project works. Luckily for us, however, we have some fantastic readers who will (and should) quickly jump in and let me know what a dork I am for believing that something like this would even work in the first place.

So, with that out of the way, let's look at how you can "supposedly" cut your electrical bill in half by creating some sort of weak electromagnetic field around your meter.

  1. Copper wire (apparently any gauge will work)
  2. Two magnets (one significantly larger than the other)
  3. Electrical tape
  4. Plastic cup
  5. Enough distilled water to fill the plastic cup
  6. Saran wrap, or other plastic wrapping
  7. Rubber band

  1. Wire cutter / stripper


Less than 15 minutes. This one's definitely a quickie.


  1. Cut off two lengths of wire that are roughly 15 to 20 inches long each. If you're using dual wire, like speaker wire, just cut one length and pull the two wires apart.
  2. Take one of your wires and strip off about an inch of sheathing from one end, and three inches from the opposite. Repeat for the second wire.
  3. Using the electrical tape, secure the end of each wire with the one inch strip to the inside of your plastic cup. Situate the wires so they are at opposite sides of the cup from each other.
  4. Fill the cup with distilled water.
  5. Stuff the excess wire into the cup until you're left with roughly six to eight inches of wire hanging out on each side.
  6. Cover the top of the cup with saran wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
  7. Take the end of one of the exposed wires, and wrap the three inches worth of copper around one of the magnets. Repeat with the second wire as well.
  8. Tape the wire around each magnet to make sure it's secure.
  9. Place the cup on top of your electric meter and allow the magnets to hang down on each side (roughly horizontal with the spinning disc inside the meter).
  10. If needed, secure the cup and magnets to the meter itself.

If you've done everything correctly, the magnets should eventually slow down your meter, leading to a lower number when the meter is read, and thus a smaller electric bill. If you're going to try this at home, it might be beneficial to hide your cup-o-magnets when the meter reader comes by to jot down your current usage. The last thing you want is for them to turn you in for tampering with their equipment. Other than that, have fun and let us know if it really works.

Also, here's the video that inspired this tutorial. WARNING: really awful music ahead! Mute your speakers while you can (sound is optional in this one)!

In the end, the best way to reduce your electric bill, and your environmental footstep at the same time, is to practice energy conservation.

NOTE: DIY Life does not condone stealing, nor do we actually recommend you do this to save power (you won't, and at worst you'll be fined and/or jailed)-- this is provided for informational purposes only. [-Ed.]

  • Bob

    I'm all for hacking stuff to make it work like you want, once you've purchased it..
    But using this is just stealing :(

  • RLH

    So what's your next DIY tip? Adding an antenna to your wifi hub to point at your neighbor's house so you can turn off your DSL and "use" theirs? A "hack" on how to roll back your odometer to increase the resale value of your car?

    This really is just stealing...

  • sgtcody

    Yes, it would be stealing if it would work. This is the equivalent of making a voodoo doll of your meter and sticking pins in it. The coils in these meters are shielded and aren't likely to be effected by magnetic fields created outside of the meter. So by all means, give it a shot. The only way this will lower your bill is because the man reading the meter was laughing too hard to see it.

  • Raj

    Thats an obsolete meter pictured here! Its not all fools day is it ?

  • randi

    Thanks, I'm willing to try anything to reduce the monthly rape by the electric companies. AWESOME TIP! Can't wait to try it.
    This isn't stealing, this is the way it should be. Crafty! I'd hack into my cable if I could.

  • Phyllis

    I remember when I was a kid, people used to do things like this to their meters... also.... if you put a nickel on the wheel in the meter it would slow down the wheel and others would spread sand on the wheel.... that's why the electric companies changed to locking the meters and now the meters are digital... so... i am sure someone will figure out a way to beat the digital meters... in time

  • peggie

    I love this site:)

  • 7 Comments / 1 Pages

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