A tip-off service has been created to combat the increasing problem of energy theft.
As part of Crimestoppers’ ‘Stay Energy Safe Campaign’, the crime-reporting call centre has teamed up with data and governance firm Electralink to open the Stay Energy Safe Helpline.
This is a free phone line that members of the public can anonymously call and report suspected energy theft. This information is then sent on to the supplier, who can investigate further and involve the police if necessary.
ELN spoke to Roger Critchell, Director of Operations at Crimestoppers. He said: “We’ve come up with a system that enables us to take calls, match it to the service provider and then pass the relevant information on to the relevant service provider.
“It’s estimated about £440 million it costs the industry and obviously there’s offsets to the public on that so its a big problem and we’re told 150,000 cases are investigated per year.”
He said the culprits can include anyone from organised criminals stealing huge amounts of energy to power heat-intensive cannabis farms to more ordinary people trying to save a bit of money on their energy bills.
ELN also spoke to Stefan Leedham, Head of Governance Services at Electralink. He said: “Energy theft is something that affects a large proportion of the industry and it’s something that’s gone unknown for years so this latest initiative is the first time in the world.
“It’s looking at delivering a service where we can risk assess all of the industry and identify the issues in a joined-up, collaborative approach.”
He added smart meters could play a part in helping police and suppliers know when the crime has taken place: “Smart meters will provide another tool to help identify energy theft so not just the consumption information but also the alarms and alerts that will help to identify whether the meter’s been moved or tampered with.”