Theft of electricity and gas in the UK is a growing problem that inherently has the potential of putting people’s lives at risk as well as supporting consequential criminal activities such as the production of illegal drugs.
Each Year, a proportion of residential and commercial energy consumers attempt to gain electricity and gas without paying for their use – costs that are ultimately born by all honest paying customers. Critically, this evasive activity often results in crude, home-made and makeshift meter by-passes that often risks the lives of the culprits, their cohabitants, neighbours and property.
Energy theft is a significant concern. The UKRPA in 2015 established that the estimated value of energy theft across Great Britain could be as much as £440 million each year, potentially adding £20 per annum to the estimated cost of a dual fuel energy customer.
This is why UKRPA members are wholly committed to seeking out and dealing with energy theft.
The UKRPA was formed in the late 1990’s to help tackle these concerns. It now has 20 member organisations who regularly share best practice in the detection, investigation and prosecution of those that steal energy. Our members are well trained and manage all incidents with the utmost focus on ‘safety first’ principles, whilst having proper regard to their legal obligations and responsibilities towards those households that are considered vulnerable.
The UKRPA believes that energy theft is an abhorrent practice which must be rooted out. However, this requires a coordinated effort by all the organisations involved, i.e. not just energy companies, but also other agencies such as the police, fire, local authorities, Environmental Health, landlords, and the Crown Prosecution Service. Ultimately, we also need public support to help us with the detection of energy theft as and when it occurs and to immediately report any such incidents they come across.
The UKRPA also works closely with Ofgem (energy sector regulator), liaises with agencies such as Environmental Health, and engages with the Home Office (with respect to cannabis production), as well as consulting the Crown Prosecution Service to strengthen the custodial deterrent factor.
Among the services provided by the UKRPA is an online and telephone fraud reporting service for use by the public. Any member of the public that is concerned about electricity theft can either:
- Contact their energy supplier. Details can be found on energy bills; or
- Report the theft anonymously using the Stayenergysafe website (managed by Crimestoppers); or
- Contact the UK Revenue Protection Association (UKRPA):
o Call: 0207 090 1070, or
o Complete the UKRPA online fraud report form.
The UKRPA have published their position with regards to Energy Theft. You can access this by clicking the following link; Position Statement