Meter Tampering is a Crime!
If you need to turn your water off, for work or for winterization, it must be done at the stop and drain (waste) valve. The meter box, meter (KV) valve, and meter are Department of Water and Power (DWP) property. Except for DWP employees, no one is allowed to tamper with this equipment. It is a punishable offense, and the DWP is authorized to fine customers who tamper with or vandalize DWP property.
Any person who diverts utility services, prevents any utility meter from performing its measuring functions, tampers with property owned by the utility, or makes any connection or reconnection with property owned by the utility without authorization is in violation of California Penal Code, Section 498 and may result in misdemeanor or felony charges up to and including imprisonment.
Stop and Drain Valve
As a property owner, it is your responsibility to have a stop and drain valve and know how to operate it as this is the only way you can shut off water to your house.
DWP staff has come across meters that have been turned off and locked by "winterizers." Shutting off water at the meter does not drain and winterize the pipes in your home. In order to winterize your pipes, they need to be completely drained so all water is removed. If water is left in the pipes, it will expand as it freezes causing your pipes to burst. That is why you need to shut off the water at the stop and drain valve because it does just that: stops the water and drains the pipes. If you live off the mountain and have someone winterize your home, please instruct him/her to shut off your water at the stop and drain valve.
Meter tampering can be expensive. Not only are meters expensive to repair and/or replace, but meter tampering can lead to bigger issues. Pipes and mainlines can be affected if meters aren't turned off or on properly. Replacing and repairing pipeline is very expensive and ratepayers have to incur those costs.
You also can be seriously injured! There is a lot of pressure in a water system. Some portions of our service area have substantially higher pressure than others. If you attempt to turn the KV (meter) valve that is inside the meter box, it could pop off due to pressure built up in the pipes and hit you, causing serious injury.