A new study has found that over a third (39%) of UK consumers aren’t aware that energy theft can cause serious and potentially life-threatening risks to their safety.
2,000 UK residents were surveyed for the research, which found that 1 in 5 people aren’t aware that energy theft can lead to fires and about a quarter know that tampering with their meter can cause electric shocks. The most unaware of the potential dangers were people aged between 18-24, with 53% not knowing that this practice was taking place.
Those surveyed were also asked what their main reason for reporting energy theft would be should they find out it’s taking place, just 46% said it would be due to safety. As energy theft could cause serious injury, not only to those in that property but the homes around it too, this is a fairly low figure.
Speaking about the research, the Director of Operations at Crimestoppers UK said: “Given that energy theft is under-reported, it’s understandable that the dangers of this crime are not fully understood by members of the UK public.
“Stay Energy Safe was set up to allow people to give information about energy crimes anonymously, but also to educate them on the potentially devastating consequences if it goes unreported. We hope that through this service, the public can have a significant impact on tackling this issue, which will help to improve the safety of people within their homes.”
What is Energy Theft?
Often referred to as ‘meter cheating’, energy theft is committed when a person isn’t paying for their gas or electricity, either completely or in part, because their meter has been tampered with or bypassed.
Energy theft doesn’t just mean that the person committing the crime isn’t paying for their bills, they’re increasing the prices for everyone else. The energy regulator, Ofgem, has stated that the suspected cost of energy theft to UK homeowners is around £440,000,000 each year.
What are the Potential Risks of Energy Theft?
Not only will energy theft increase bills for everyone else, it also has huge risks for those committing the crime and other people in the area. Tampering with a meter can lead to burns, electric shocks, fires and even explosions.
How Can I Report Energy Theft?
Reporting energy theft if you suspect that someone is stealing gas, electricity or both can be reported anonymously to Stay Energy Safe in a number of ways:
- Call the report line on 0800 023 2777
- Fill in the online form at stayenergysafe.co.uk