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Iredell County man facing dozens of felonies after posing as Duke Energy worker, police say

An Iredell County man is facing over 50 felony charges after deputies said he promised to lower the bills of Duke Energy customers by "calibrating" their meters.

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — An Iredell County man is facing dozens of charges after deputies said he posed as a Duke Energy worker to receive cash payments by promising to help customers save money by recalibrating their electric meters. 

Rowan County deputies began investigating in early July after Duke Energy noticed numerous customers across the state were receiving decreased utility bills over an extended period of time. Duke's own investigation discovered that numerous meters were tampered with. While investigating the matter, Duke Energy was able to identify a suspect, 53-year-old Mark Absher of Harmony, North Carolina. 

Duke Energy officials met with the Rowan County Sheriff's Office, as well as numerous Duke customers to confirm that the suspect illegally tampered with their electrical meters. 

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The customers told investigators that Absher said he was a subcontractor of Duke Energy and that he could assist them with their bill by "calibrating" their meters. The customers agreed to this work and Absher allegedly charged anywhere from $250 to $400. Customers told police that Absher wore Duke Energy clothing at most of the locations where meters were tampered with. Absher is not an employee of Duke or any of its contractors, and it does not appear he has ever worked for the company, deputies said. 

Credit: Rowan County Sheriff's Office
Mark Absher

Absher was arrested on Aug. 23 after Rowan County deputies recovered multiple items belonging to Duke Energy at his home in Iredell County. Absher was charged with 25 felony counts of damage to Duke Energy equipment, 25 felony counts of interfering with electric meters, 17 felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and conspiracy to commit a felony. 

Investigators said there are still numerous customers in Rowan County and across North Carolina who will be contacted for further investigation. Absher is also facing drug charges in Iredell County based on evidence discovered at his home. He is being held under a $400,000 bond in Rowan County. 

Any Duke Energy customer who had their meter "calibrated" by Absher is asked to call Duke Energy immediately. They can also contact the Rowan County Sheriff's Office at 704-216-8700. 

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Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.

WCNC Charlotte is choosing to show the mugshot of the suspect in this case because investigators are asking more victims to come forward. 

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