Trafford Council has launched a major crackdown on businesses using illegal gas and electricity supplies.
Environmental Health officers, along with staff from Greater Manchester Fire, Electricity North West and British Gas, are visiting takeaways and restaurants across the borough to check if meters have been tampered with.
Any found to have been changed or are dangerous are immediately disconnected.
Council officers, who launched the campaign in October, say lives could be put at risk because of the illegal practice. So far, a total of 26 business have been visited. A total of eight were suspected of meter tampering and six had their supplies cut off. Further Investigations are being carried out into two others.
In the latest visits last week, 17 businesses were visited and three were found to have unauthorised connections. Follow up investigations are to follow.
Cllr Mike Freeman, Trafford Council Executive Member for Constitutional Reform and Resident Engagement, said:
Trafford Council and its partners are carrying out some very important work here. Not only is tampering with gas and electricity meters very dangerous, it is also illegal. We will continue to work to detect and prevent this.
The safety of our residents is the number one priority for Trafford Council. People are at risk of electrocution and explosion when metres are tampered with and we will not allow this to continue.
A British Gas spokesperson said:
We take safety extremely seriously and detect more cases of energy theft than any other supplier. We can’t stress enough that tampering with meters, wires and pipes can cause electric shocks, gas explosions and put lives at risk.
Abbie Lamb, revenue protection manager at Electricity North West, said:
We look after the power network in the region and that includes making sure that it is safe and that everyone who is using electricity is paying for it. If you suspect someone has bypassed their meter you can report it anonymously and we will investigate.
Paul Etches, Head of Prevention at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said:
We are currently working with partners across Greater Manchester to ensure gas and electric supplies are safe.
If people do tamper with gas or electric supplies, it can cause a serious fire hazard, which would put people that use the building, along with firefighters at risk should something go wrong. Our message therefore is simple: please don’t tamper with gas or electric supplies, it could easily put a life at risk.
Energy theft is a huge problem across the UK and is costing the industry up to £500m a year. The Stayenergysafe group says meter cheating costs lives and us urging people to report cases of energy theft anonymously to their hotline 0800 0232777.
Posted on Friday 8th February 2019