€10,500 fine imposed for gas meter tampering in Kildare
Unlawful interference of gas supply puts lives at risk
Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the strong ruling and significant fine imposed in a case relating to the unlawful interference with a gas meter at an address on Green Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
On 7 February 2022, Mr Kieron Loughlin was convicted at Naas District Court under Section 15 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 on three charges of unlawful interference with a gas meter and dishonestly using or causing gas to be diverted.
The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in August 2021 and found that an unauthorised gas meter was installed. Mr Loughlin is the registered gas customer at the property.
Following the evidence given by Gas Networks Ireland in court, Judge Zaidan convicted Mr Loughlin, in his absence, under section 15(2), 15(3) and 15(6) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 as amended by Section 5 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.
Noting the significant safety concern, Judge Zaidan imposed a fine of €3,500 for each of the three counts, with three months to pay. The total fine of €10,500 issued by the court reflects the seriousness of the offence.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Networks Safety Manager, Owen Wilson, welcomed Judge Zaidan’s strong stance against meter tampering.
“This verdict, and the significant fine attached, send out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences,” Mr Wilson said.
“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.”
Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible fines of up to €5,000 per offence 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 approximately 3,000 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.