Only 1 in 4 people across the UK would report an instance of energy theft despite 92% of the population agreeing that it’s wrong, a recent survey has found.
In the UK, an estimated £400 million of electricity and gas is stolen every year with somebody dying as a direct result of energy meter tampering every 10 days.
The survey, carried out by Echo Managed Services and Grosvenor Services Group, found that of the 2,000 residents:
- 54% would report an instance of energy theft if they suspected it was happening; however
- 21% would only report the crime if it took place in their local area.
Someone is guilty of committing energy theft, or ‘meter cheating’, when they stop paying for gas and electricity, completely or partly, as a result of their meter being tampered with or bypassed.
Speaking about the findings, Managing Director of Grosvenor Services Group, Lloyd Birkhead said: “These figures show that the energy sector mustn’t assume that the general public will be working with them to reduce energy theft; as it stands at least one quarter won’t.
“Demonstrating the impact of investigations is also key – rather than keeping the great work being done to tackle energy theft covert, more could be done to let the public know about meter changeovers, arrests and convictions, underlining how this has prevented injuries and will help tackle inflated bills.”
Reasons why UK residents wouldn’t report a case of energy theft included:
- It not being their business (8%)
- Not wanting to report friends or family (10%)
- Not knowing how to report energy theft (19%)
- Not believing that anything would get done about it (11%)
- Feeling that the person committing energy theft had a valid reason for doing it (4%)
Younger people are more likely to ignore a case of energy theft with 33% of 18-24 year old and 38% of 25-34 year olds stating that they would choose not to take action.
Risks of Energy Theft
Anyone tampering with a meter is not only commiting a crime but also putting their life and the lives of others at risk as it could lead to fires, electric shocks and explosions.
How to Report Energy Theft
Should you suspect someone of stealing gas, electricity or both then you shouldn’t hesitate to report it to Stay Energy Safe. This can be done anonymously by:
- Calling the report line on 0800 023 2777
- Filling in the online form at stayenergysafe.co.uk