‘Meter jumping’ is a term used for when someone tampers with the electricity meter so it doesn’t record how much electricity is being used or to bypass the electricity meter completely.

Jumping an electricity meter is classed as electricity theft, and it can lead to a fine or prison sentence. Not only is it a crime, but you can also get severely hurt if you meddle with electricity. It is highly dangerous!

If you suspect electricity theft you can report it anonymously here.

Shocks and severe burns
Messing with the wiring could make switches or appliances ‘live’ to the touch or make them overheat or malfunction. It risks shocks and burns to anyone using them and can start fires that endanger everyone in the building.

Electrical fires
Exposed wires and connections can get so hot that they start fires. This can put lives at risk, destroy property, and endanger everyone in the house, often including neighbours or colleagues too.

What to spot

As mentioned, tampering with your electricity meter to try and save money is extremely dangerous. The first signs that a meter has been tampered with can be shocks from switches and burns from appliances, but sudden fires and even explosions are possible, too, putting you and your family in extreme danger. Meter jumping can take many forms, even smart meters can be unsafe if tampered with. Some of these are shown below, so look out for them.

  • Damaged casing
    The casing to the meter may be broken or removed completely, and the cables are disconnected
  • Extra wires
    Wires sticking out or wrapped around and connector clips attaching them to the meter
  • Melted meter
    Parts of the plastic casing are melted or there is scorch and burn marks on the meter
  • Working but no credit
    The meter shows that the credit has run out, but electricity is still available
  • Meter dials are not moving
    Dials on the meter aren’t going around even when electricity is being use.
  • Burning smell
    You can smell something burning or even see smoke or sparks near the meter box