We are aware that for many businesses across the UK, the amount spent on your utilities could be substantially high. Today rather than discussing which supplier to switch too. In this post we will discuss a more delicate matter – gas meter cheating & energy theft. Often consumers or unregistered “engineers” have taken matters into their own hands attempting to cheat and tamper with gas meters making it difficult for suppliers to read customer’s meters, which starts to dismantle the usual billing process.
At Crown Gas & Power we’re raising awareness of “gas meter cheating” by promoting the Energy Theft Tip of Service from Stay Energy Safe to ensure all our customers are reminded of the consequences and problems surrounding gas meter cheating. In the past you might have been frustrated by the size of your gas bill and searched across the internet for “how to cheat your gas meter?” What you’ll find out, is how these metering criminals operate. They will put a vacuum into utility meters in order to rewind the dial. Clocking your gas meter is fraud, theft and presents a danger to your community.
The organisation Stay Energy Safe work closely with energy suppliers & Crimestoppers in order to clamp down on energy theft and gas/electric meter cheating.
In a nutshell:
- 1,500 people are charged with energy theft each year
- 150,000 suspected cases of energy theft every year
- Gas meter cheating and energy theft costs us all £440,000,000 a year!
Clocking your gas meter – Fire. Theft. Fraud
Similar to clocking your car, it’s illegal to clock your utility meter. A shifty mechanic might attempt to turn back the mileage on a car he’s selling in an attempt to bump up the value. Which is what unregistered engineers could be doing to your meters, if you’re not vigilant. They’re rewinding the consumption clock.
Gas meter cheating might seem like a cost effective often; but it’ll only work in the short term. You wouldn’t play with fire or explosives so why tamper with your gas meter putting your entire workforce or household at risk.
Getting caught gas meter cheating has career damaging side effects, from a 5 year prison sentence and usually up to a £2,000 (growing) fine on top of paying for the energy that you’ve managed to cheat. In addition, your supplier will disconnect your supply, leaving you inconveniently without gas or electricity.
Furthermore, we know that estimated energy bills cause frustrations for businesses and households throughout the UK. Therefore, it’s possible that another consequence of cheating your gas meter is the increase of estimated energy bills as you will no longer be consuming an accurate flow of gas.
Natural Gas, Electricity and anything related to your energy supply, is a fire hazard and when tampered with, that hazard moves up a step.
For instance, during a leak as your room starts to fill with gas, the slightest change could trigger an explosion, from flicking switches to sparking a match. Gas emergencies are a rarity, why encourage such drastic consequences by cheating gas meters.
Advanced & Smart Metering
Like anything if you update, it’ll become more difficult to crack. Therefore, by upgrading your business’s boiler it becomes more difficult to tamper with. If you’d like to find out more about upgrading your gas or electricity supply meter, contact our Site Works team on 0161 762 7660 and we’ll gladly answer any questions you might have.
Recently, the news of hacking into Smart technology to take control of others, homes might become an issue for some consumers. However, as these devices become more popular, you’ll always hear these stories. “Give a hacker laptop and they’ll break into the bank in 5 minutes.” Therefore, by taking simple and necessary security measures by locking your phone, changing passwords and keeping software up to date, you won’t have any clear problems with advanced Smart Metering.
Furthermore, as well as arranging a metering upgrade at Crown Gas & Power our Site Works team specialise in the installation of Smart & advanced metering for your gas or electricity supply. We emphasise the importance of keeping your site up to date, not only reducing the risk of gas meter tampering and emergencies but all advanced metering; produce accurate, automatic readings enthusing a reduction in estimations.
We install Automated Meter Readers on all sites under our supply, for more information about how to get an AMR installed get in touch with our team on 0161 762 7744. Simply by switching to Crown Gas & Power, we’ll ensure you’re receiving a secure and accurate business gas service.
Arrested for cheating gas meters – Stealing over £150,000 worth of gas
In November 2015, a small restaurant owner in Cornwall was fined and received a prison sentence for stealing over £150,000 of gas over a 20 year period. The reason for conviction despite theft and fraud was “failure to meet the basic standards of public safety.” Thus emphasising how important it is to keep a “Therm eye” on your businesses energy supply, whether that’s checking your meter every month, arranging for regular maintenance or upgrading your meter.
At the time the fire department explained how this restaurant premises caused a serious risk of fire or explosion not only to them but neighbouring properties.
Furthermore, this story clearly states the repercussions of gas meter cheating and how it’ll damage your professional and personal life.
Notice anything suspicious
If it’s just to save money, cheating gas meters is dangerous, eventually it’ll cause a gas leak, excite the flames on your gas cooker and cause power cuts. Although, the effects of utility meter cheating aren’t always that clear. On most occasions you won’t notice until your premises fills with gas and goes up in flames! Therefore, we cannot express enough the importance of this issue, if you suspect anything on your premises or smell anything unusual contact the National Grid free gas emergency line on 0800 111 999; visit our help in an emergency page for more information.
Investigating Meter Cheating – What to look for?
- Is your meter back to front? Make sure your dials are readable, how often to do check your meter? It should be every month to submit readings.
- When reading your meter if the dials aren’t moving, there is an issue with your meter.
- Smell of gas near your meter box
- There’s no visible dial
- Rubber piping – if there is rubber tubing instead of pipes
- On a top up meter, if your meter shoes credit has run out, but gas is still available
Our message to you is to become more vigilant regular monitor your gas meter, who’s servicing it and how much you’re paying. Simply at the end of each month when you’re reading your meter, make sure you check for any inconsistencies. In addition, the majority of suppliers offer online account access. Therefore, it’s even easier to monitor consumption, whilst checking for unfamiliar patterns.
For more information about reporting gas theft; our customers are able contact our Customer Relations team on 0161 762 7744 who will work to provide the quickest possible resolution to your situation. Alternatively, follow Ofgem’s tips when reporting gas theft.
If you’re responsible for a business premises; whether that’s a commercial, industrial or public sector site. If you have any concerns about your gas supply or other properties near you. Contact Stay Energy Safe the anonymous service set up by Crimestoppers to help clamp down on energy theft and gas/electric meter cheating.
Our Customer Relations Team: 0161 762 7744 – Ask us anything!
Stay Energy Safe 24/7 Telephone: 0800 023 2777
National Grid Free Emergency Telephone: 0800 111999