€2,000 fine imposed for gas meter interference in Kildare

Gas meter tampering puts lives at risk

Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to unlawful interference with a gas meter. Mr James Cawley with an address of 49 The Willows, Castlefen, Sallins, Co. Kildare was convicted at Naas District Court on charges of unlawful interference with a gas meter and dishonestly using or causing gas to be diverted on Monday December 2nd 2019.

The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in January 2019 and found that an unauthorised meter was installed at the property. Mr. Cawley pleaded guilty in court to having unlawfully tampered with the meter.  Judge Desmond Zaidan, having heard the evidence, stated that the offence was at the higher end of the scale in terms of seriousness and more worryingly was a threat to public safety.

Judge Zaidan recorded convictions against Mr. Cawley under section 15(2) and 15(3) of the Energy Act 1995 and imposed a fine of €1,000 against both counts, a total of €2,000, with 6 months to pay.

Owen Wilson, Networks Safety Manager for Gas Networks Ireland said:

"This verdict sends out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences. Fraud is a very serious issue, but far more serious is the risk to life that meter tampering poses to the perpetrator and to people nearby. We are working to end unlawful interference with gas meters and the dangers associated with this activity."

"Rogue contractors can make seemingly attractive offers, but the dangers involved, in allowing someone who is not registered and qualified to do the work, are very real. Anyone who either interferes with a gas meter themselves or agrees to allow someone who is not a Registered Gas Installer to work on their gas installations is risking their own life, those of their family, and of people living nearby."

Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible fines of up to €5,000 and prison sentences of up to 6 months 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 and has detected over 2,600 cases of meter tampering across the country since 2013.

Members of the public are asked to report any suspicions of meter tampering to Gas Networks Ireland in strict confidence by calling 1850 200 694. Further information is available at www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering

ENDS

Media queries:
Marie Sheehan | PR Manager
Gas Networks Ireland
087 754 8968
marie.sheehan@gasnetworks.ie

 
About Gas Networks Ireland:
Gas Networks Ireland is the business division of Ervia that owns, builds and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland and connects all customers to the gas network. Gas Networks Ireland operates one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world and ensures that 700,000 homes and businesses receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Ervia is a commercial semi-state multi-utility company with responsibility for the delivery of gas and water infrastructure and services in Ireland.