The campaign aims to educate the public on the dangers associated with gas meter tampering and also advise on the appropriate actions to take if they believe that meter tampering is taking place. Running across outdoor, digital, radio and door-drop advertising, it is one of five public safety awareness programmes being rolled out by the national gas grid operator during 2016.
There have been 1,475 cases detected across 19 counties nationwide over the past two years. The counties with the highest prevalence of tampering cases include Dublin, Meath, Louth, Kildare, Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick. Gas Networks Ireland has successfully prosecuted meter tampering cases in Dublin, Cork, Carlow and Waterford.
Gas Networks Ireland is currently running a public awareness campaign to highlight the life-threatening danger posed by gas meter tampering. The campaign aims to educate the public on the dangers associated with gas meter tampering and also advise on the appropriate actions to take if they believe that meter tampering is taking place. Running across outdoor, digital, radio and door-drop advertising, it is one of five public safety awareness programmes being rolled out by the national gas grid operator during 2016.
Tampering with a gas meter is dangerous, exposing people to the risk of a gas explosion, fire, injury or even death. Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible prison sentences and heavy fines for those found guilty of the crime. Gas Networks Ireland has been actively engaged in identifying and making safe installations where tampering has been found. In doing so, the company acknowledges and is grateful for the increased numbers of tip-offs it has received from concerned members of the public and is keen for this to continue. Suspected cases of meter tampering can be confidentially reported to Gas Networks Ireland on 1850 200 694 or on http://www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering
“The methods of interfering with gas meters vary, but in all cases it is dangerous and illegal. By interfering unlawfully with gas meters, those tampering are not only putting their own safety at risk, but also the safety of their families and neighbours. The consequences of gas meter tampering can be fatal. Through this campaign, we hope to educate the public about the dangers of meter tampering as the number of cases detected in Ireland remains high.Gas Networks Ireland and An Garda Síochána adopt a rigorous approach to enforcement of the law in this area. By law, only Gas Networks Ireland representatives are authorised to work on natural gas meters and it is illegal to ask, pay or allow someone else to tamper with your meter. Safety is our number one concern and we will not tolerate the actions of a small number of people putting the lives of others at risk.”
This information campaign brings to the public’s attention that those who tamper with their own or others’ meters are guilty of a criminal offence and thereby liable for prosecution. Those convicted of an offence under sections of the Energy Act¹, will be liable to pay a fine of up to €5,000 and / or imprisonment of up to six months.
Aidan Hogan, Revenue Protection Manager² with the networks operator clarifies that each reported case is subject to a “rigorous process”. “Meter tampering is treated very seriously, particularly if there is any sense that safety is an issue.” He continues: “The safety of the network and of all of our customers is paramount and this is clearly compromised by those involved in this illegal practice.”
Gas Networks Ireland’s priority is the safety of the public and members of the public are urged to put safety first. As a part of the campaign, a range of frequently asked questions on meter tampering are answered online at http://www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering.
¹ The Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.
2 The Gas Networks Ireland Revenue Protection Unit was established in September 2013 to identify and investigate cases of alleged unlawful interference with Gas Networks Ireland equipment and refer these cases as appropriate, for prosecution under the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.