Kildare Conviction for Gas Meter Tampering
Unlawful gas meter interference puts lives at risk
Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to unlawful interference with a gas meter at an address in Earls Court, Kill, Co. Kildare.
On Monday 5 December 2022, Ms Linda Preston was convicted at Naas District Court under Section 15 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 on the charge of failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the unlawful interference with a gas meter at her address was discontinued.
The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in September 2022 and found the gas meter in situ had been unlawfully tampered.
Ms Preston pleaded guilty in court to being aware that the gas meter was not duly registering the correct quantity of gas consumed at the address by reason of the meter being unlawfully interfered with, and that she failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that such interference was discontinued.
Judge Zaidan, having heard the evidence from Gas Networks Ireland, convicted Ms Preston under Section 15(6) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 as amended by Section 5 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.
Ms Preston was fined €1000 and given six months to pay. The judge commented that he had sent people to prison before for these types of offences due to the dangers and risks of this illegal activity.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Networks Safety Manager, Owen Wilson, said:
“This verdict sends out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences, and the theft of gas 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.”
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 six 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 2,700 cases of meter tampering across the country since 2013.
By law, only Gas Networks Ireland representatives and registered gas installers are authorised to work on natural gas meters and pipework. It is illegal to ask, pay or allow someone else to tamper with a gas meter.
“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,” Mr Wilson said.
“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.”
Members of the public are asked to report any suspicions of gas meter tampering to Gas Networks Ireland in strict confidence by calling 1800 464 464.
Further information is available at www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering.