Energy regulator Ofgem has issued a warning against removing gas or electricity meters as it is “illegal” and may be dangerous.
The ‘energy saving hack’ first gained traction on social media in April 2022, as a rise in energy prices came about and the cost of living rose for many.
In a tweet on Friday, the regulator warned against trying to “save money by changing your energy meter without permission”.
Physically removing an energy meter can be extremely dangerous, as an energised meter could explode and cause bodily harm.
Additionally, it is also illegal to tamper with an energy meter without approval and specialist help from energy suppliers or local authorities.
Crimestoppers also advises against tampering with energy meters.
Roger Holden, director at Crimestoppers, said: “A tampered meter creates a huge safety risk, that can lead to an explosion or fire.
“Not only are the meter cheaters stealing energy, but they are stealing our money too. We’re paying an extra £20 on every bill each year.”
In April 2022, moneysaving expert Martin Lewis was also forced to issue a statement advising against claims that people could “‘remove the meter & you use energy for free'”.
He said: “It’s just nonsense. You pay for the units of fuel you use, and a standing charge.”
If an individual wants their meter moved, they must ask their supplier to do so as it can be dangerous without specialist training.
The supplier then confirms if they can carry out the work, based on a variety of factors including the current and future locations, type of connector, and reason for moving.
Once confirmation is received, the customer is quoted a price for the work to be carried out.
This price can vary from supplier to supplier, so the watchdog advises asking other suppliers for quotes as well to compare.
Only the current supplier can carry out the work – this means if the customer wants another supplier to do it, they have to switch companies first.
Citizen’s Advice warns that this could increase prices for gas and electricity, so it is important to check that it is worth it overall.
Priority customers can receive this service for free, and must let their supplier know of their status in advance. These are customers who have long-term illnesses, are retired, disabled, or on their supplier’s Priority Services Register.
A similar process ensues if the supplier is unable to move the meter, and the customer contacts their local authority to carry out the work.
Citizen’s Advice warns that they can charge anywhere between £400 and over £1000, depending on the amount of work required.