Think a meter has been tampered with? Here’s how to report it

Tampering with an energy meter is often linked to energy theft – when someone deliberately interferes with a gas or electric meter so their energy usage isn’t recorded properly, or stops being recorded altogether. Energy theft is sometimes carried out by individuals or organisations looking to misrepresent their supply, or by landlords looking to make some extra money off tenants who pay ‘bills included’ rent. We wanted to take a little time to talk about energy theft because not only is it costly – setting the public back over £440 million every year – it’s also incredibly dangerous.

A meter I wouldn't touch...

Gas meters that have been tampered with are dangerous because they are prone to gas leaks. If this gas builds up inside a building it can lead to unconsciousness, respiratory problems, memory loss and many other health issues. Natural gas is also extremely flammable and if it is leaking, something as simple as switching on a light can trigger an explosion.

Tampering with an electric meter can cause appliances to overheat, malfunction and become ‘live’ - which can cause electrocution and other serious injuries. If there are any exposed wires or metal objects inserted into the meter, they can electrocute people as well.

In worst case scenarios, tampering with meters can have fatal consequences.

It can be difficult to tell whether a meter has been tampered with, but here are some of the telltale signs:

  • Suspicious wires or pipes by meters or appliances that look out of place
  • Meter dials that don’t move.
  • Prepayment meters that still work, despite being out of credit
  • A smell of gas coming from near a meter box
  • Meters that have been turned around so the dial isn’t visible
  • Damaged meter casing, or parts of the plastic casing having been melted or scorched
  • Suspicious calls or emails from anyone who suggests they can save you money, especially cold callers claiming to be from a reputable company
  • Landlords who deny you access to your meter

How to report suspected energy theft:

If you suspect a meter has been tampered with you can report it anonymously to Stay Energy Safe.

You can contact them anonymously on 0800 023 2777, or through their online form.

You can also contact us directly by emailing, or report it anonymously by filling in this form.

Our obligations and courses of action during an energy theft investigation are outlined on the government's Energy Theft Charter.

Download a copy of the Energy Theft Charter here.

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