Too many PCs means Hydro might think you’re a grow-op

Remember last year when that live EagleCam drew huge numbers from around the world?  It turns out that the company that did a lot of work on that project was flagged by BC Hydro recently as being a potential grow-op due to “excessive power consumption”.  All this because they were running 14 PCs as part of a business that has been licenced in Pitt Meadows since 1993. 

Richard Pitt, who founded wimsey.com, Canada’s first commercial ISP, opened the door of his home last week to an RCMP officer and the head of Pitt Meadows’ bylaw enforcement department.  Evidently BC Hydro had alerted them to the fact that the home was drawing above average amounts of power, and might be a grow-op.

Pitt was told that inspectors would be back in 24 hours to inspect the home looking for signs of a grow-op.  When he offered to show them the PCs in the home that were drawing the excessive power, the police refused.  Upon returning the next day, they were apparently satisfied that there was no illegal activity in the home.

All of this begs a couple of questions (in my mind, at least):

  1. Why didn’t someone just check with the city to see if this was actually a legitimate business?
  2. If they really thought it was a grow-op, why would they give someone 24 hours to at least make an attempt to sanitize the site? 

Pitt summarizes the whole experience on his blog.

So for those of you who might run a small data center from your home, maybe let Hydro know, so that you don’t get flagged as well, eh?

7 Comments so far

  1. Ross (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    re: “If they really thought it was a grow-op, why would they give someone 24 hours to at least make an attempt to sanitize the site?”

    Probably because they recognize that busting grow-ops is waste of everyones time, and would rather the op’ers move the heavy equipment/plants than do it themselves.


  2. Matt Charron (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

    Does this mean that ALCAN is growing one whopping amount of BCBud due to being the largest energy consumer in the Province?

    Very freaky to be profiled due to your energy use ONLY! And I thought you Canadians were more socially conscious! Geez.


  3. keith lim (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

    It does not beg the question! Does not, does not, does not! We just did this two comment threads down too.


  4. dustin (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    Free the herb!


  5. bcneocon (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 4:46 am

    ha! wimsey – i used to have a wimsey email account, my first ever in vancouver – them were the bad old days of 19k connections and the old modem firing up to those strange beeping noises, thank god that’s just a bad memory now….


  6. bcneocon (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 4:48 am

    oh yeah, the whole police incident – oh well shit happens, no one got hurt, yadda yadda yadda


  7. Rod (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 8:03 am

    Yeah, Wimsey was my first provider too. I think it was probably 1993 or 1994.



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