Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site recently came across a report revealing that Michigan utility conglomerate DTE Energy has spent large sums on high-tech initiatives to spot so-called illegal utility hookups from the air.
According to a blog post on recoverir.com, in early 2009 DTE contracted with Stockton Infrared Technology Services, (now a partner with RecoverIR) to do an aerial infrared survey of 84,000 acres of populated land in the Detroit area, about one sixth of DTE’s total customer base. Infrared aerial surveys use the technology developed by the US military for night vision. It involves flying planes at low altitudes over residential neighborhoods to obtain a black-and-white thermal photograph. The maps of urban neighborhoods are then color enhanced to identify buildings showing energy usage.
The results painted a devastating picture of pervasive social deprivation in Detroit. While DTE expected to find 5 percent of residents in the surveyed area with unauthorized hookups, the survey results indicated that almost 20 percent of the households had unauthorized hookups to natural gas. Up to 80 percent of those households had simultaneously tapped into the electrical grid.
The aerial survey took place as depression conditions were spreading economic misery throughout the city of Detroit and southeastern Michigan following the economic collapse in late 2008. Bankruptcies in auto, auto parts, and other industries devastated the already economically distressed city, where it is estimated one in two workers lacks a full-time job.
Also see, DTE used spy planes to spot unauthorized hookups
Matter of time:
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