Unlawful gas meter interference puts lives at risk.

Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to the dishonest use of gas at an address at Killure Manor, Waterford.

On Monday 18 October 2021, Ms Amanda Stokes was convicted at Waterford District Court under Section 15 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 on charges of dishonest gas usage.

The court heard that when Gas Networks Ireland carried out an investigation in December 2020, it found a lock had been unlawfully removed from the gas meter and gas was in use at the property. Ms Stokes was not a registered gas customer at the time.

Ms Stokes appeared in court and pleaded guilty to knowingly using gas without paying for it. Judge Staunton, having heard the evidence from Gas Networks Ireland, convicted and fined Ms Stokes €400 with six months to pay under section 15(2) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 as amended by Section 5 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.

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.

“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 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.