Power suppliers to crack down on electricity theft

3 July 2013
By Edd Gent
Mobile version
Share |
Up to a third of the volume of electricity stolen each year used to power cannabis farms

Up to a third of the volume of electricity stolen each year used to power cannabis farms

Power suppliers could be required to clamp down on electricity theft under new rules proposed by the regulator Ofgem.

The supply industry is subjected to up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft every year, costing consumers at least £200m, or £7 per electricity customer, Ofgem said, with up to a third of the volume of electricity stolen each year used to power cannabis farms.

Now Ofgem wants new rules to be brought in to reduce the amount of theft, with fines for suppliers who do not comply by bringing in measures to detect, investigate and prevent cases.

Under the proposals, suppliers would also have to set up a national theft risk assessment service to help them target premises where there are strong suspicions that electricity is being stolen.

"Ofgem wants to make sure that consumers are paying no more than they need to for their electricity, and lives are not put at risk,” Ofgem's chief executive Andrew Wright says.

"It's critical that suppliers do all they can to clamp down on electricity theft. This is why Ofgem is introducing new rules to encourage better theft detection.

"The reforms build on similar obligations we introduced at the start of this year for suppliers to address gas theft more vigorously. All these measures will help to improve the confidence of consumers, who want reassurance that the energy market is fair."

Suppliers and network companies would have to create an industry code of practice governing how theft investigations should be carried out, to ensure a consistent approach across the industry.

They would have to share best practice methods and knowledge across the industry about how cases of theft are identified, and liaise with agencies such as the police and Home Office over how to tackle electricity theft relating to cannabis farms, Ofgem suggested.

A 24-hour hotline would also be introduced to allow customers to report suspected electricity theft and suppliers are being asked to propose a financial incentive scheme to Ofgem that would encourage them to detect and prevent theft.

Energy UK, the trade association of the energy industry which represents more than 80 companies, welcomed the proposals.

A spokesman said: "Ofgem's consultation is a positive move to cut down crime, and we look forward to working closely with them, and others in the Industry, on this.

"Electricity theft is dangerous and illegal. Contact with live electricity cables can kill and tampered meters cause fires. Electricity theft also costs honest customers money which is why energy companies take this and gas theft very seriously .

"Every year our members detect and prosecute criminals. When energy companies find electricity thieves, they will prosecute."

An initial consultation on Ofgem's proposals has been published today and the deadline for responses is August 28.

Ofgem expects to have a licence condition for suppliers in place by early next year, with the theft risk assessment service running in early 2015.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1606

"Where would Frankenstein and his creative mind fit into today's workplace? Should we fear technological developments or embrace them?"

E&T jobs

  • Lecturer in Engineering (Electronic / Electrical)

    Blackburn College
    • Blackburn, Lancashire
    • £23,560 to £35,583 pro-rata, per annum plus Market Premium of £3K per annum

    We are looking for a Lecturer in Electronic / Electrical Engineering to join our busy Higher Education team at a time when the STEM agenda....

    • Recruiter: Blackburn College

    Apply for this job

  • Lecturer in Engineering (Mechanical)

    Blackburn College
    • Blackburn, Lancashire
    • £23,560 to £35,583 pro-rata, per annum; plus Market Premium of £3,000 per annum

    We are looking for a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering to join our busy Higher Education team at a time when the STEM agenda...

    • Recruiter: Blackburn College

    Apply for this job

  • Director of Technology & Engineering

    Birmingham Metropolitan College
    • Birmingham, West Midlands
    • c £55,000.00

    This key role will provide inspirational leadership to drive success and outstanding performance across the department

    • Recruiter: Birmingham Metropolitan College

    Apply for this job

  • Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Smart Building Solutions

    ETH Zurich
    • Zurich, Canton of Zürich (CH)

    The successful candidate is expected to develop a strong and visible research programme in the area of control and diagnostics of building systems

    • Recruiter: ETH Zurich

    Apply for this job

  • Network Innovation Engineer / Analyst - UK Power Sector

    Premium job

    Nortech Management Ltd
    • Birmingham, West Midlands or Pershore (Worcestershire)
    • £30,000 - £35,000 (depending on experience) + benefits

    Network Innovation Engineer / Analyst to join a team of talented technology enthusiasts who design and support the low carbon networks of the future.

    • Recruiter: Nortech Management Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Production Engineer

    Premium job

    Compact Engineering
    • Thirsk / Leeds / Banbury / Colchester / Cambridge
    • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience, knowledge, aptitude and capability

    A Production Engineer with some knowledge and understanding of radiant energy transfer.

    • Recruiter: Compact Engineering

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer with Strong telecoms background

    Premium job

    Sure South Atlantic Ltd
    • Falkland Islands

    Sure South Atlantic Ltd currently has a unique engineering opportunity in their Falkland Islands office. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, teeming ...

    • Recruiter: Sure South Atlantic Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Nikon Metrology Europe
    • Tring, Hertfordshire

    Nikon Metrology is looking for an Electronics Engineer to join our Electronics Team based in Tring (UK).

    • Recruiter: Nikon Metrology Europe

    Apply for this job

  • Cyber, Communication, Information and Data Scientist roles

    Premium job

    Dstl
    • Porton Down, Salisbury
    • Competitive salaries

    Information is everything. Use it to serve your country and help keep us safe.

    • Recruiter: Dstl

    Apply for this job

  • MI Senior Developer

    National Grid
    • Hinckley, England, Leicestershire
    • Negotiable

    MI Senior Developer Hinckley National Grid's energy network transports gas and electricity to homes and businesses all over the UK. It's an essential part of all our lives. And it needs to be continuously advanced and enhanced to meet increasing demand wh

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T