3 month suspended sentence for gas meter interference

Gas meter tampering puts family, neighbours and own lives at risk

Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to unlawful interference with a gas meter. Ms. Elizabeth Cole with an address of 9 Cathair Na gCapall, Cooltederry, Portarlington, Co. Laois was convicted at Portlaoise District Court on charges of unlawful interference with a gas meter on Friday July 17th 2020.

The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in October 2019 and found the gas meter in situ had been unlawfully tampered with. Ms Cole pleaded guilty to the charges against her.

Judge Catherine Staines, having heard the evidence, recorded convictions against Ms Cole under section 5 of the Energy Act 2012 legislation, and imposed a three month sentence, suspended for one year.

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 (RGI) 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 2,800 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 1800 464 464.  Further information is available at www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering