When British Gas Revenue Protection (RP) Officers were called to a business unit in South Yorkshire countryside, they found a substantial illegal cyber crime set-up powered by a significant amount of computer hardware – none of the energy for which was being registered. In the main room, the Officers found 200 computer units cooled by industrial fitted air conditioning units. They were met with an alarm and discovered CCTV was watching every room.
The RP Officers immediately contacted Yorkshire Police, who joined them on site within minutes. Investigation has confirmed the unit was an underground Bitcoin mining set-up linked to a known cyber-criminal gang network with involvement in the Dark Web and many other dark illicit activities.
In September 2019, Grosvenor Services Group issued a consumer poll asking 1,000 UK billpayers about their attitudes towards the potential amnesty being considered by Ofgem. Following the closure of the poll, Grosvenor Services published an article in the Electrical Review outlining the responses received and detailing the associated benefits and costs that an amnesty would bring.
Grosvenor highlights the low consumer awareness around the safety risks associated with energy theft and confirms the importance of safety being at the forefront of the decision as to whether an amnesty should be implemented. The UKRPA Chairman also commented, confirming the intention for the Association to provide support to Ofgem and Members in this deliberation phase.
This is a great example of our Members taking positive action to increase the public’s awareness around energy theft and meter tampering. We welcome and encourage any other stories you may have which highlight similar messaging.
You can find the full article here.
The 2019-20 UKRPA Seminar Programme continues, with the third Seminar taking place at Gemserv offices on Wednesday 20th November 2019.
The four-part programme, which began in November 2018, is aimed at all levels of industry participants and will take deep dives into specific areas of Revenue Protection.
The Third Seminar, ‘Theory into Practice’, will focus on:
- Understanding legislation, policy and obligations, with an overview from ElectraLink on the SPAA and TRAS;
- Reflecting on how the theory materialises in the procedures carried out, including generating and conducting investigations;
- Exploring Members’ real-life case studies of these activities and discussing potential best practice, and
- Identifying next steps for the UKRPA to support Members in carrying out their responsibilities.
This full-day event will appeal to parties in the Revenue Protection space, particularly those who would like to consolidate their knowledge on their obligations throughout the process.
UKRPA Members are entitled to two free places each. Non-Members are charged £200 each per place, or £100 if you have been referred by a Member.
Please contact UKRPA@Gemserv.com to book your place and to find out more, including available sponsorship opportunities.
The UKRPA’s 2020 National Revenue Protection Conference returns on Wednesday 24th – Thursday 25th June 2020 at Highgate House, Northamptonshire.
Further information, including confirmation of the topics, speakers and presentations for the two full-day event, will be circulated in due course.
The Conference is extremely popular and tickets will go on sale in early 2020, alongside details of how to register.
Sponsorship and exhibitor packages are also available; please contact the Secretariat at UKRPA@Gemserv.com if you are interested in pursuing these opportunities.
We look forward to engaging with you further on this exciting event. Please let us know if you have any questions in the meantime, or would like to participate in the Taskforce group responsible for organising the Conference.
On 18th July 2019, a British Gas Revenue Protection Officer discovered a cannabis farm in Handsworth. Support was provided by the local Police to dismantle the farm, which comprised of 50 plants worth thousands of pounds. The full story can be found here.
In another case, British Gas Officers received a tip-off of a cannabis cultivation being grown in a man’s property in Gillingham, through a tampered meter. British Gas acted to clear the cannabis cultivation promptly, and the individual was arrested and remains in custody. Please see here to access the full story.
On 9th July 2019, the Galway Daily Newspaper reported that Gas Networks Ireland has facilitated the enforcement of a significant fine in Galway for a gas meter tamper.
Galway District Court was informed that Gas Networks Ireland investigated the property of Ciaran Scully (Castlegar) and found that the gas supply had been illegal interfered with. Mr Scully pleaded guilty and the Court fined him €3,500.
Gas Networks Ireland issued a public warning to highlight the public danger of interfering with gas supplies, with the Networks Safety Manager, Owen Wilson, confirming, “A tampered meter is dangerous and creates a risk of a gas explosion which can result in serious injury or even death. Those who tamper with gas meters not only put themselves at risk, but also other occupants of the property, neighbours and members of the public.”
You can find the full story here.
The second Seminar of the 2019-20 UKRPA Seminar Programme was held on 13th June 2019. The event focused on vulnerability in the Revenue Protection space, particularly:
- Key industry stakeholders’ approaches to addressing vulnerable customers, including Ofgem and the Extra Help Unit;
- Consideration of wider understanding of vulnerability, including mental health; and
- Measures to address vulnerability employed by UKRPA Members, including discussion of what could comprise best practice.
The Seminar was well attended and facilitated valuable discussion regarding how Members and wider industry can provide the best service when managing energy theft and vulnerability.
We thank UKRPA Member Grosvenor Services for sponsoring the Seminar, which was a CPD accredited event, in addition to those who presented on the day. We look forward to welcoming you to the remaining 2019-20 Seminars. Please contact UKRPA@Gemserv.com if you have any questions.
This edition includes details on the 2019-20 Seminar Programme; an overview of the Best Practice Workshop; a media update from Grosvenor Services; and a report from the launch of the Utility Regulator Consumer Protection Programme.
If you have any stories you would like to submit for the next Newsletter, please contact the Secretariat at UKRPA@Gemserv.com.
You can download Issue 21 here:
Newsletter Edition 21 (April 2019)
The 2019-20 UKRPA Seminar Programme continues, with the second Seminar taking place at Gemserv Offices on Thursday 13th June 2019.
The four-part Programme, which began in November 2018, is aimed at all levels of industry participants and will take deep dives into particular areas of Revenue Protection.
The Second Seminar, ‘Approaching Vulnerability’, will focus on:
- Key industry stakeholders’ approaches to addressing vulnerable customers;
- Consideration of wider understanding of vulnerability, including mental health;
- Measures to address vulnerability employed by UKRPA Members, including discussion of what could comprise best practice; and
- Identification of the next steps for UKRPA with regard to vulnerability.
Being a significant topic within the industry, the focus on vulnerability is hugely relevant and aims to facilitate interesting and valuable discussion amongst Members and wider stakeholders. Members are therefore encouraged to promote the Seminar to your wider contacts, to whom this subject may be of interest.
UKRPA Members are entitled to two free places each. Non-Members are charged £200 per place.
Please contact UKRPA@Gemserv.com to book your place and to find out more.
The Daily Mirror has published an article regarding a disabled customer discovering an illegal cannabis farm in his basement. Investigation is being carried out into the activities of the customer’s caring assistant.
As the Supplier, British Gas’ Revenue Protection Unit attended the site after ascertaining the customer’s bills were exceptionally high due to the growing of the cannabis farm. The case has been ongoing since last year.
The story can be found here.
Please contact UKRPA@Gemserv.com if you have any questions.