The provincial legislature has passed a law requiring electrical companies to forward billing information to municipalities. Bill 25 is in response to a proposal brought forward by Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis in an attempt to find new ways to shut down marijuana grow operations. The bill allows municipalities to determine which homes are using exorbitant amounts of electricity, an indication of a grow operation.
There are at least 2,000 homes in Surrey with marijuana plantations. For the last year, Garis has operated the Electrical Fire Safety Initiative (EFSI), in an attempt to hammer down that number. Under EFSI, fire crews with municipal electrical inspectors issue inspection notices on homes suspected of having grow operations.
If the homeowner doesn?t allow an inspection within 48 hours, the power is cut off. Since the program started last year, city crews have acted on more than 1,000 tips. After Bill 25 is passed, electrical companies will give the city two years of electrical bills so a spike in activity can be isolated.