Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to the dishonest use of gas in Co. Dublin. Sarah Walker, with an address at Saggart Lakes, Saggart Co. Dublin was convicted of the dishonest use of gas by Judge John Brennan at a sitting of Dublin Metropolitan District Court at the Four Courts on Thursday 16th February 2017. Judge Brennan imposed a €1,500 fine and additionally ordered costs of €500 to be paid to Gas Networks Ireland.
Gas Networks Ireland, in presenting its evidence to the Court, noted that this offence took place at a detached property in a gated development with neighbouring properties in close proximity. Gas Networks Ireland explained that an unauthorised meter was discovered at the property and that this meter had been reported missing from another property in Saggart in 2012. The whereabouts of the meter originally installed by Gas Networks Ireland is not currently known and has been reported to An Garda Síochána.
Judge Brennan, having heard the evidence, highlighted the serious nature of the offence and its "potential catastrophic effect". He noted the risk and danger the offence presented for the accused and her children and also for the occupants of neighbouring properties. The Judge also noted that the large property consumed a considerable amount of gas and as a result there was a substantial shortfall in monies owed to the gas supplier for the gas which was dishonestly used.
"Today’s 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."
"Gas customers should only ever allow a Registered Gas Installer (RGI) to work on their gas boiler or 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. 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."
Owen Wilson - Neworks Safety Manager
Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible fines of up to €5,000 and possible 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 1,800 cases of meter tampering across the country since 2014, with more than 1,400 of those cases detected in Dublin.
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
Aimee Beale 086 151 4024
Gas Networks Ireland
Mary O’ Mahony 086 834 2277
Issued by Murray on behalf of Gas Networks Ireland
Notes to Editor:
The case in question was taken by Gas Networks Ireland against Sarah Walker, with an address at Saggart Lakes, Saggart, Co. Dublin. Following an investigation by Gas Networks Ireland, it was found that an unauthorised meter was installed at the property. The unauthorised meter in question had previously been reported missing from another property in Saggart. Such interference is illegal and puts the lives of the occupants, their families, and their neighbours at risk.
Ms. Walker was convicted of dishonest use of gas under Section 15(2) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 as amended by the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.
About Gas Networks Ireland:
Gas Networks Ireland is the business division of Ervia that owns, operates and develops 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, consisting of 13,000km of pipeline around Ireland. We ensure that almost 674,000 homes and businesses receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.