Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
Don't meddle with the meter. Here’s an idea to ponder. According to Ofgem, tampered energy meters add £20 to every household bill each year. They also pose a life-threatening danger to personal and public safety.
The regulator is suggesting an energy theft amnesty. This would mean giving the public - including property professionals, landlords and tenants – the chance to own up (risk free) to breaking the law by stealing energy through a tampered meter. The meter would be made safe and no backdated charges applied. Energy theft is a serious crime and it's one which frequently goes under the radar. It is often committed by rogue landlords or tenants and injures or kills at least one person every fortnight in the UK. During Ofgem’s proposed amnesty, energy thieves would neither be prosecuted, fined nor back-billed and would simply "get away with it." The sentence is usually five years in prison.Ofgem is so serious about this idea that it has done a survey to see what 1000 people round the country think. Over half would be in favour. So what are the pros and cons? Here’s what Ofgem has to say:
The research, which was carried out by UK-wide energy theft investigation companies, Echo Managed Services and Grosvenor Services Group doesn’t think the dangers of energy theft are well enough known. The energy sector needs to work harder to educate people on the potentially-fatal risks that meter tampering can present, they say. Ofgem will be weighing up the pros and cons of a possible amnesty in the coming months – so it will be interesting to see what happens. In the meantime, anyone thinking of tampering with an energy meter in a property they manage, let out or rent from a landlord should think again. It’s against the law and it’s dangerous.
Image courtesy of Caroline Ford [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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