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Meter Tampering: A Hidden Danger for Property, Tenants, and the Community

Posted on March 14th, 2024

Meter tampering is a significant challenge in the housing sector as it impacts landlords, tenants and the wider community and can destroy homes, businesses, and families. But did you know that there is a safe way to report any suspicion? That’s where the Stay Energy Safe service is vital, allowing you to speak up anonymously online or by calling 0800 023 2777.

Bypassing an electricity meter can have devastating consequences, including electric shocks, severe burns, and fires, while gas theft can lead to lethal leaks and catastrophic explosions.

Gas leaks and fatal fires

Real-life cases noted on the Stay Energy Safe website here provide insights into the harsh consequences of energy theft, including instances where innocent lives have been lost. Nadeem Mughal was jailed for three years after risking his neighbours’ lives after tampering with his gas meter twice. His actions led to significant gas leaks – threatening up to 20 neighbours in a block of flats in Leicester.

In another incident, a son living with his elderly housebound mother caused her tragic death due to a bypassed electricity meter after it caused a devastating fire.

Feeling the pinch

Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, Stay Energy Safe has received an average of 1,000 energy theft reports nationally every single month. From some of the information Stay Energy Safe receives, it’s evident that even business owners have been engaging in this incredibly dangerous and reckless behaviour for years.

Financial pressures can encourage people to look for ways to save money without understanding the risks. However, beyond the financial implications, the threat extends far beyond mere billing concerns. Individuals who engage in energy theft can pose serious safety risks to neighbours. Such unauthorised meter tampering jeopardises the safety of the broader community, including residents and employees.

Energy theft occurs in approximately 1 in 150 homes annually, costing UK consumers £1.4 billion yearly, with each consumer estimated to pay an extra £50 each year on their energy bills. Find out more about energy theft here.

Spot the signs

To protect and safeguard legitimate organisations within the housing sector, their employees, contractors, residents, and the surrounding community, it’s important to be able to recognise the signs of energy theft.

You can learn to recognise signs of energy theft here. It often includes irregular wiring, sparking, burn marks or the smell of gas.

The charity Crimestoppers

Stay Energy Safe is a service run by the independent charity Crimestoppers. To pass on your suspicions about energy theft, please report it by completing the Stay Energy Safe online form or by phone on 0800 023 2777. 100% anonymous. Always. This means you will never be asked for your personal details.
By speaking up safely, you will be helping to protect properties and communities, preventing harm or even loss of life.

Speak up. Stay safe.

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