Trade bodies warn of ‘worrying rise’ in potentially fatal energy meter-tampering

Alan Wilson

THE cost of living crisis is causing people to resort to potentially deadly measures to reduce their energy bills, two trade associations have warned.

SELECT and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) said there has been a ‘worrying’ rise in illegal meter-tampering.

The bodies explained that interfering with electricity and gas meters can have a ‘disastrous effect’ on perpetrators and innocent people nearby – and have urged anyone coming across tampering to report it.

In a joint statement, Alan Wilson, MD of SELECT, and Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, said, “It is a distressing sign of the times that an increasing number of consumers are resorting to tampering with their electrical and gas meters in an effort to reduce their energy bills. Stealing energy in this way is a worrying and illegal practice, often encouraged by widely shared footage on social media. But it risks lives and can have fatal consequences for innocent people close by.

Fiona Hodgson

“Such services are often offered by unscrupulous individuals who will bypass services or devices for a fee. But often the methods they use are often extremely dangerous and they can have no, or very limited, knowledge of what they’re doing. Like all gas and electrical work, interrupting the supply is something that should only ever be dealt with by fully-trained and qualified professionals.

“We are urging all householders and tradespeople to immediately contact the relevant energy company if they suspect meter tampering has occurred.”

The warning follows a recent alert from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), saying meter tampering is occurring with increasing frequency. Last year, energy regulator Ofcom highlighted the danger of social media posts claiming gas and electricity meters could be removed as an ‘energy-saving hack’.

It also coincides with the Stay Energy Safe campaign from Crimestoppers, urging contractors and consumers to contact them anonymously at 0800 023 2777 if they think a meter has been tampered.