An investigation carried out by the BBC’s Inside Out programme has revealed that criminals are being hired to hotwire electricity and gas supplies across London.
Mark Andrews, head of revenue protection at British Gas, said the process of syphoning energy from other people’s properties results in people dying every year.
In May last year, a home in Sheffield was destroyed by a gas explosion, thought to have been triggered by sub-standard work aimed at stealing gas supplies.
Investigators later discovered seven instances of energy theft in the same street.
Brits paying an extra £30 per year to cover energy theft
Energy regulator Ofgem estimates that the practice costs the energy sector roughly £400m every year and adds approximately £30 to annual energy bills.
In contrast the government’s recent cuts to green levies removed about £50 from the average household bill.
Ofgem believes that close to one third of energy theft is linked to cannabis farms.
“People will charge between £10 and £500 a time”
Speaking on the criminals who engineer energy theft, Piers Merritt, a power theft investigator said: “These people will charge between £10 and £500 a time.
“They’re not putting themselves at risk, if something happened there it’s all the adjoining properties and everyone in there that’s going to be affected by a potential explosion.”
Inside Out will air today at 19.30 on BBC One.
Photo by kate hiscock.