Nearly half of electricians and gas engineers have been asked to tamper with meters to slow them down

  • 43 per cent of electricians or gas engineers have had clients enquire about tampering with meters to make them run more slowly
  • Nearly a third of electricians and gas engineers have noticed signs of tampering
  • Industry integrity - the majority (83 per cent) would report evidence of meter tampering if they noticed it


New research1 from Direct Line business insurance reveals that 43 per cent of electricians and gas engineers have been explicitly asked by clients to tamper with their electricity or gas meters to make them run more slowly.

Tampering with electricity and gas meters is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal. Cheating a meter to avoid paying bills is classified as ‘electricity theft’ and can lead to serious consequences including prison sentences and fines.

Many electricians and gas engineers carrying out regular jobs for clients have noticed signs of tampering. Nearly a third (30 per cent) have spotted evidence of tampering attempts. A fifth (19 per cent) either know, or work with someone, that has also seen signs of meter tampering in a client’s home.

The increasing cost of energy over the last 18 months, is likely to be driving meter tampering requests. Nearly all (92 per cent) tradespeople believe that increased costs have led to more people looking to make their meters run slowly to save money on energy.

The research highlighted the majority of electricians and gas engineers understand the consequences of meter tampering and are alert to the need to report evidence of it. There is clear evidence of the integrity that exists across the industry, over four-in-five (84 per cent) say they have a good understanding of the repercussions of cheating a meter, and 83 per cent say they are likely to report it if they are confident that a gas or electricity meter has deliberately been tampered with. 

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance commented:

“It is worrying to see that meter tampering and electricity theft attempts have become relatively widespread. While times are undoubtedly hard, people should remember this is dangerous and a criminal offence, which could lead to severe consequences. People should also not be asking energy contractors to perform illegal acts.

Despite this, it is encouraging to see the majority of electricians and gas engineers have a good understanding of this and remain on the right side of the law by not facilitating meter tampering for clients.

“Meter Tampering also has serious insurance implications. If your property is damaged, destroyed or someone hurt as a result of deliberate meter tampering, you won’t be covered by your home insurance. This also applies to Landlords with tenants who have tampered with gas or electricity meters, although they may be covered if they’ve taken out additional cover to protect themselves against malicious damage caused by their tenants.”

David Powell, electrical installation safety engineer at Electrical Safety First, commented:

“Tampering with electricity meters is not only a criminal offence – it could cost you your life. Many people are struggling financially but it is never worth putting you or your family at risk. Tampering with meters exposes anyone in your household to electric shocks, burns, fire and even death. If you are struggling with your energy bills, speak directly to your energy provider.”


(1) Opinium survey of 150 UK electricians or gas engineers, conducted 9th March -13th March 2023.

Direct Line Group 

Unni Henry 

PR Manager

Email: [email protected] 

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting