old style gas meter

Reporting gas theft and unauthorised connections

Do you know how to spot that gas theft may be taking place? Cadent sets out the tell-tale signs, what actions you should take, and how to report it.

Theft of gas can pose serious danger. Interfering with gas pipes or meters is a very dangerous thing to do, putting people and property at risk. It can also carry hefty repercussions for those found guilty.

At Cadent, we have a responsibility to play our part in the detection and prevention of gas theft and unauthorised connections. You can help by looking out for suspicious activity and reporting potential gas theft. It is very quick and easy to do and could be instrumental in avoiding property damage, injury or even loss of life.

What is theft of gas?
Theft of gas refers to tampering with a gas meter or service installation to prevent or
distort the usage of gas being recorded. The customer’s meter not being registered with a gas supplier is also considered to be gas theft.

Signs of gas theft
Tell-tale signs of gas theft include:
• Meter turned around: if the meter has been turned back to front, there’s a chance this has been done to hide the original dials and is a sure sign of meter tampering.
• Smell gas: A smell of gas around the meter means there’s definitely something wrong. You should immediately call 0800 111 999.
• Dials not moving/disappeared: if you can no longer see the meter dials or they’ve stopped moving there’s a chance that that the gas meter has been altered to steal gas.
• Rubber piping: all gas meters use metal piping. If this has been substituted for rubber piping, the gas meter has been changed from its original state and should be checked.
• Gas working without credit: In a property with a pay-as-you-go meter where the credit has run out but there is a supply of gas, this is a sign the meter has been tampered with.

You can check whether the consumer is registered and paying for their gas usage by using the Find My Supplier website at www.findmysupplier.energy. You only need the address to check.

You can see whether the gas supply at the property has an MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) and to whom it is registered. If there is no MPRN or supplier, then we urge you to report this to the gas transporter.

At Cadent, we investigate all unregistered usage where there is no registered supplier. Where there is a supplier identified at a theft of gas case, we will pass this information on to the relevant supplier for them to progress the investigation.

Unauthorised connections
Only Cadent or an approved utility infrastructure provider can move or install gas connections. If anyone connects to the gas network before the emergency control valve, without authorisation or knowledge of the transporter, we will deem this to be an unauthorised connection. These connections are not made by an accredited engineer, posing great risk to the public and criminals involved. Therefore, we will remove it from the network. These connections are most common in new-builds, renovations, and certain hotspots around the country.

Unauthorised connections do not always look illegitimate, but if you come across anything suspicious then please do report it.

How should you report?
• Call the national gas emergency line on 0800 111 999 or report the issue to the relevant network operator
• Contact the UK Revenue Protection Association (UKRPA) by calling 020 7090 1070 or by completing the UKRPA online fraud report form at www.ukrpa.co.uk/report-energy-fraud
• You can report anonymously at: www.stayenergysafe.co.uk/report-energy-crime or by calling 0800 023 2777 and anonymously at Crimestoppers.

As a registered gas engineer, you know the importance of gas safety advice and how identifying an illegal gas connection, a gas escape or carbon monoxide from faulty appliances can save lives. Please help to spread the word to your family, friends and colleagues.

You can find out more about gas theft at: www.cadentgas.com

This article appeared in Registered Gas Engineer magazine, September 2022.

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