Tampering with energy meters ‘can create ticking time bomb’

Anyone who tampers with their energy meter might be setting off a “ticking time bomb” within their own home, a top energy networks boss has warned, after a spike in people trying to bypass the device.

Energy networks have joined forces to warn households against trying to get free gas or electricity by fiddling with their meters.

Between 2017 and 2021 there was a nearly 400% rise in interference with energy equipment and officials think this will continue to rise in 2022, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said.

People have caused house fires, gas leaks and electrocuted themselves when trying to cut through wires and pipes, it added.

A recent house fire in Glasgow in which a woman died was linked to meter tampering, the ENA said.

“Tampering with your meter can create a ticking time bomb in your home,” said David Spillett, head of safety, health and environment at the ENA.

“The UK’s electrical and gas engineers are highly trained professionals who ensure your home’s power system is entirely safe – tampering with their work risks serious harm to yourself, neighbours and your loved ones and damage to your property that will not be covered by insurance – it’s just not worth the risk.

“If you are struggling to pay your energy bill, please speak to your energy supplier or contact Citizen’s Advice for free and impartial advice.”

The warning comes days after the price of electricity and gas soared to a new record.

Although the Government has capped electricity prices at 34p per unit of electricity and 10.3p per unit of gas, households are still facing energy bills around twice as high as last year.