British Gas estimate that the cost of energy theft in the UK is up to £220m per year(1)! This figure shows energy theft both before and after any meters, and is staggeringly high – adding money to your energy bill. OFGEM have released several papers to try and crack down on illegal connections, placing more responsibilities on suppliers to check that connections in their area are legal.
The way that those checks are completed is by comparing meter serial numbers with the MPAN or MPRN of the electrical cable or gas pipe. An MPAN is a Meter Point Administration Number and is sometimes called a ‘Supply’ or ’S’ number. Every new electrical service is assigned one upon connection, it is a 13 digit number that identifies the cable and is stored by MPAS in a central database. An MPRN number, or Meter Point Administration Number is much the same but for gas connections, and is stored at Xoserve. A meter serial number is the unique number below the barcode on the display of meter, and identifies that meter.
Every time a meter is connected its serial number is matched and paired with the corresponding MPAN or MPRN – and if this doesn’t match, it can be illegal. If a service is found to be illegal then it is the responsibility of the network operator to disconnect the service, and these disconnections are carried out on a regular basis.
It is always worth double checking on receipt of a quote that the connection will be legal. Recently, we have completed work on a development of 8 houses that were illegally and unsafely connected to gas and have therefore been disconnected by the National Grid. This has cost the developer thousands of pounds that could have easily been saved by getting the connections completed legally, and there could have been deadly consequences had the illegal services not been identified.
Estimates of the retail value of stolen energy range widely from £64m to £220m per year – https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/39192/gas-theft-consultation-112-11.pdf