The region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, has collaborated with the UK’s main energy companies to tackle the dangers of energy theft by creating an anonymous reporting service called Stay Energy Safe.
The independent service, which was launched yesterday, is powered by the national charity Crimestoppers and is provided for members of the public, landlords, business owners and anyone that is concerned about the dangers of energy crime.
There are 150,000 suspected cases of energy theft every year in the UK and Electricity North West carry out at least one joint operation with local authorities a week helping to crack down on the crime across the North West.
Karen Ainsworth, revenue protection manager for Electricity North West, said: “Illegal tampering and energy theft is a criminal offence and it puts the safety of people at great risk.
“Our dedicated team have been working hard to crack down on this crime across the North West and we have worked with other energy companies and Crimestoppers to launch this essential service.
“We will continue to crack down on energy theft as the safety of our customers and our network is paramount. It is also unacceptable that honest bill-paying residents across the North West are effectively having to pay for others to have free electricity.”
Mark Hallas, chief executive for Crimestoppers, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that this is a ground-breaking agreement that we have forged with the energy industry to ensure that crimes such as meter tampering are clamped down on.
“This isn’t just about supporting the industry, though, it’s about our duty to the communities we work with. Explosions and fires as a result of energy theft can be devastating, which is why we are running this service on behalf of the industry, to ensure our streets are safe.”
If anyone spots energy theft anywhere report it anonymously by calling the stayenergysafe line on 0800 023 2777 or go to www.stayenergysafe.co.uk.