Energy theft is the dangerous practise of tampering with an electricity or gas meter to lower the amount of energy recorded. Energy is ‘stolen’ because more energy is used than the meter has recorded.

It is a Criminal Offence, but even more worryingly, it can be life threatening. Gas theft can cause gas to leak, which is poisonous to breath and can cause explosions. Electricity theft can cause shocks, burns and even electrical fires.

What is the Theft Charter? 

The Theft Charter is a cross-industry commitment to ensure a consistent approach is taken among energy suppliers whilst undertaking energy theft investigations. We have signed up to the Theft Charter and have commitment to identify vulnerable customers, make the site safe and work to recover any associated costs where meter tampering has occurred. 

A copy of the Theft Charter can be found at the bottom of this page as an attachment.

What could energy theft look like?

  • Signs of electricity theft

  • Damaged casing

    The casing to the meter may be smashed, broken or removed completely and the cables disconnected

  • Melted Meter

    Parts of the plastic casing melted or scorch and burn marks on the meter

  • Meter dials not moving

    Dials on the meter aren’t going around even when electricity is being used

  • Extra Wires

    Wires sticking out or wrapped around and connector clips attaching them to the meter

  • Working but no credit

    Meter shows credit has run out, but electricity is still available

  • Burning smell

    A smell of something burning or even smoke or sparks near the meter box

  • Signs of gas theft

  • Back to front

    The meter has been turned around the wrong way so you can’t see the normal dials

  • Smell of gas

    A smell of gas near the meter box

  • Rubber piping

    Where pipes should be there are bits of rubber tubing instead

  • Dial has disappeared

    There is no visible dial or counter on the meter anymore

  • Meter dials not moving

    Dials on the meter aren’t going around even when gas is being used

  • Working but no credit

    Meter shows credit has run out, but gas is still available

What should I do if I suspected energy theft?

Crime Stoppers’ Stay Energy Safe hotline can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free on 0800 0232 777, or you can report through their online portal. Reports can be 100% anonymous.

If you can smell gas or think there's a leak, turn off your supply at the meter unless it is in a basement or cellar, in which case we advise evacuating the building. Please call the National Gas Service Emergency Line on 0800 111 999 and report the leak.


What happens next?

Once you have reported suspected energy theft, the information will be passed on to the suppliers involved (there may be more than one). Suppliers have a duty of care to keep your meter working safely so any report will be taken seriously. The suppliers will investigate your concerns and if they also suspect energy theft, they will take steps to make the property safe again. This usually includes sending engineers to the property.