Soaring energy costs prompt dangerous meter tampering requests

Soaring energy costs prompt dangerous meter tampering requests

0:07 AM, 7th June 2023, About 4 months ago

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A shocking survey reveals that 43% of electricians and gas engineers have been asked by clients – including tenants – to illegally tamper with their electricity or gas meters to reduce their energy bills.

The findings from Direct Line business insurance highlight that as energy prices continue to rise, more people are resorting to these dangerous and illegal measures to save money.

It warns that tampering with gas and electricity meters is not only hazardous but also classified as ‘electricity theft,’ which can result in severe penalties such as imprisonment and fines.

But, despite the risks, nearly a third (30%) of electricians and gas engineers have discovered evidence of tampering during their regular work.

And 19% of respondents either know someone or work with someone who has encountered similar signs.

‘Meter tampering and electricity theft attempts ‘

Alison Traboulsi, a product manager at the firm, said: “It is worrying to see that meter tampering and electricity theft attempts have become relatively widespread.

While times are undoubtedly hard, people should remember this is dangerous and a criminal offence, which could lead to severe consequences.

“People should also not be asking energy contractors to perform illegal acts.”

She added: “If your property is damaged, destroyed or someone hurt as a result of deliberate meter tampering, you won’t be covered by your home insurance.

“This also applies to landlords with tenants who have tampered with gas or electricity meters, although they may be covered if they’ve taken out additional cover to protect themselves against malicious damage caused by their tenants.”

Increase in meter tampering requests

The study from the insurer says the increase in meter tampering requests is down to the escalating cost of energy over the past 18 months.

A staggering 92% of tradespeople surveyed believe that the rising expenses have led more individuals to seek ways to slow down their meters and cut down on energy costs.

Fortunately, most electricians and gas engineers understand the consequences of meter tampering and are keen to report any evidence of it.

Apparently, 84% claim to have a good understanding of the repercussions, and 83% stated they would report any deliberate tampering they come across.

‘Tampering with electricity meters is a criminal offence’

David Powell, an electrical installation safety engineer at Electrical Safety First, said: “Tampering with electricity meters is not only a criminal offence – it could cost you your life.

“Many people are struggling financially but it is never worth putting you or your family at risk.

“Tampering with meters exposes anyone in your household to electric shocks, burns, fire and even death.”

He adds: “If you are struggling with your energy bills, speak directly to your energy provider.”

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