Electricity theft is a very serious offence in the UK, with an estimated 25,000 cases getting reported each year. It’s illegal and puts people at risk of electrical shock, fires and severe burns. In 2019, it’s easy to report energy crime, but how easy is it to spot?
Here are 5 ways to spot electricity theft and keep your home safe.
Issues with your Meter
Are the numbers on your electricity meter visible? If they aren’t then this could indicate that your meter has been tampered with. Other common issues with meters include numbers running backwards, loose wires and sparks coming from the meter.
When your electricity meter has been tampered with, it can affect your entire home. If you find that there are sparks coming from some of your sockets and appliances, then you might find that electricity theft has occurred. You should also check the inside of the meter as wires sticking out or wrapped around the meter can also be an indication of tampering and theft.
Smoke or Fire
If you happen to come across smoke or fire coming from your electricity meter, you might want to report this to your local authority as it’s a common sign of meter tampering. Your meter should never have smoke coming from it and the dangers are severe. Make sure you check your meter often to ensure that there are no signs of this, and if you see something suspicious, report it.
Working with No Credit
A simple but important sign that often goes unnoticed is a meter which is working fine, but has no credit loaded. This might be a nice surprise but often indicates that someone is using your electricity for free.
Sparks in Public Places
Finally, you should consider reporting electricity theft if you come across any kind of sparks or electricity related smoke in public places. Perhaps you are in a community building or a pub and you place your hand on a metal surface and get a spark. This could be a sign of electricity fraud and is always worth reporting. All reports are taken seriously and will be investigated if necessary.
As soon as you see any of the signs of electricity theft, you should report it right away. You can do this anonymously by phone or online through Crimestoppers’ service Stay Energy Safe. Electricity theft is not a victimless crime and the consequences can be fatal, look out for the signs and report any suspicion to potentially save a life.