Meter tampering is illegal in North Carolina
North Carolina law specifically prohibits altering, tampering with and bypassing electric meters. Persons found guilty are liable for triple the amount of losses and damages to the utility, or $500, whichever is greater.
Anyone who uses power from an altered meter violates the same law. Both the person in whose name the meter is installed, and the persons using the electricity, may be liable.
It's also illegal for an unauthorized person to reconnect a meter after the utility has disconnected it.
It's also illegal to alter or remove a load management device that your utility has installed, unless you've asked the utility in writing to remove it and the utility has not removed it within two working days.
This law also applies to gas and water meters.
These activities do not apply to licensed contractors performing their usual services within recognized standards.
It's all in North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 14, Subchapter VI, Article 22, Section 114-151.1.