Did you know that Ofgem figures attribute an annual cost of £440 million to energy theft? That’s a lot of money the public and companies could be losing, but that’s not all. Energy theft can also cause safety concerns, and it increases the risk of explosions and fire.
Sadly, a lady in Glasgow lost her life due to a fire caused by a meter that had been tampered with. This outlines the kind of risk involved with these kind of incidents and how much damage they can potentially cause.
What is energy theft?
It’s basically when someone tampers with their meter to avoid paying for energy or to try to pay less. This happens all around the country, and despite that fact that it seems like a victimless crime, that’s not always the case at all. Take a look at this infographic which shows the personal and financial costs of energy theft.
Peter from business energy consultancy ECA Group Ltd said “There are certain signs that energy theft may be taking place, such as someone not paying any energy bills, a landlord not allowing you to see the energy metre or people hinting they can help you to save on your energy bills.”
Thankfully, Crime Stoppers have partnered with the Energy Industry in order to create a dedicated crime hotline. People can report any suspicious behaviour or cases of meter tampering via this hotline, and feel like more is being done to stop crimes like this. There’s also a website which also accepts reports and provides general information for anyone who is concerned about this issues.
What can you do to help prevent energy theft?
Well, now there’s a hotline, you can report any issues. It doesn’t matter who you are, because this service is for everyone. Which includes landlords, tenants and businesses. If you don’t feel like you want to report the issue over the phone, you can get in touch via the website.
If you think someone has tampered with your energy meter, don’t try and investigate yourself. Check the information on the website before taking action. A tampered meter could be unsafe for those in your house as well as potentially putting your neighbours at risk.
Don’t allow anyone who isn’t authorised near your energy meter. Check anyone who comes round to take a meter reading and make sure they are definitely from your energy provider.
What happens when an energy theft is reported?
According to the Stay Energy Safe website, this is what happens after you report energy theft.
‘After you make a report, the relevant energy supplier will be notified. Each supplier has its own way of dealing with energy theft. The meter may need to be inspected by a professional and will be removed or exchanged if there is a risk to public safety.’
Is this service anonymous?
If you want to remain anonymous, you can. You simply have to write to Stay Energy Safe online. If you want to stay anonymous, remember not to include your name on any communication. If you don’t mind giving them a few details such as your name, contact details and information on the problem, they can pass this onto the energy companies.
Disclaimer * We cannot be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading this article. If you suspect you are in danger, or you smell gas or burning, call the emergency services. For more information see http://www.stayenergysafe.co.uk/