Know the signs of gas theft and meter tampering

Have you been asked to tamper with a meter to make it run more slowly? Cadent sets out how to spot the signs and what do if you find a meter that isn’t as it should be.

What are the signs?
Tampering with a property’s gas meter may cause the flames on the hob or gas fire to change size or to burn more yellow than blue, and pilot lights may go out often. But sometimes there are no signs at all until the build-up of gas explodes.

Gas engineers play a key role in identifying these unsafe situations in their customers’ homes and reducing the risk. Dave Garner, director of Health and Safety at Cadent, says: “Theft of energy is an industry-wide issue, and one that can have devastating consequences. It is something that we are all working on together, to raise awareness and stop such dangerous activities.”

Gas meter cheating can take many forms and even smart meters can be unsafe if tampered with. If you spot any of these signs, please report them to Stay Energy Safe:
• A smell of gas near the meter box
• The meter shows that credit has run out but gas is still available
• Dials on the meter aren’t going around, even when gas is being used
• Reversed meter: when the flow of gas passes through the meter in the wrong direction. All gas meters flow from the inlet on the left to the outlet on the right (below)

A reversed gas meter

• Substitute meter used to replace the official meter (below)

A substituted gas meter

• Tilted meter: this is only possible in specific circumstances – ie, the meter must have a mechanical index, be fitted with two flexible connections and not fixed to the floor or wall using a meter bracket (below)

A tilted gas meter

Bridged meter: a bridge is anything other than the official meter that is used to connect the regulator or ECV to the outlet pipework (below)

Gas meter that has been bridged with rubber tubing

How to report it
Stay Energy Safe is a way to pass on information about meter tampering anonymously. It’s run by Crimestoppers. You can call free on 0800 023 2777 or fill in the online form at You can remain 100% anonymous.

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