Electricity theft reaches record levels as cost of living crisis worsens

A record number of people stole electricity in England and Wales last year, according to new figures released by the UK Home Office.

Police received 3,600 reports of “electricity abuse” in the 12 months to March 2022. This is a 13% year-on-year increase and his highest level since 2013 when records began.

come after protest website Recently, a campaign was launched urging people not to pay their electricity bills from October.

Average annual gas and electricity bills in the UK have risen to £2,000 from £1,400 in October 2021. This is after the government removed price caps and restricted how much suppliers can charge their customers.

A further significant increase is expected in October 2022.

Originally forecasted to hit £2,800 in average utility bills in the fall, the latest forecast is £3,358.

Rishi Sunak commits to abolish VAT on fuel costs

Last month, former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is vying with Foreign Minister Liz Truss for the new Conservative leader, promised to abolish VAT on domestic fuel costs next year if he becomes prime minister.

he said: “The price cap will eliminate his VAT on all household electricity bills next year as he is expected to exceed £3,000 in October, saving the average household £160.”

Truss did not reveal specifics about the cost of living crisis, but said this week: ”

Peter Smith, Director of Policy and Advocacy, National Energy Action Campaign Group, said: And this is happening now, before winter and cold weather come. ”

Almost a third of the thefts (1,100) occurred between January and March, double the number recorded in the last two winters.

Smith said:

Electricity theft is usually done by tampering with the power supply or bypassing the meter, which is very dangerous.

Although the legal maximum sentence is five years in prison, no suspect was identified in 57% of cases last year, and only 7% resulted in someone being charged or subpoenaed.

A spokesman for the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority said, “Under no circumstances should consumers attempt to connect electricity meters themselves.”

A government spokesman told the PA it was providing £37bn to help households with their living expenses, adding: ”

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.