Restricting access to an electric sub meter removes the opportunity for unscrupulous tenants to add wiring that by-passes the landlord meter allowing them to use power without paying for it. The majority of tenants do the right thing and pay for the power they use but unfortunately there will always be exceptions. To assist landlords Metro Prepaid has launched the MET00, a wired communication split meter, that allows the landlord meter to be secured in an access controlled environment with only a keypad installed in the flat to enable communication with the meter.
Estimates suggest the UK loses hundreds of millions in electricity theft each year. Experienced landlords know to include revenue protection measures like payments monitoring, paired with meter installation inspections where there is a shortfall in the money they collect, when compared to the money they must pay, to the energy supplier.
Mark runs an HMO and is dealing with a tenant who deliberately bypassed an electric sub meter to steal £1620 worth of electricity. This money could have been spent upgrading the property or passed back to tenants by reducing their rent. “I was paying £150 to the energy company each month and only recovering £60 from my tenants – then my tenant in flat 5 admitted he’d been fiddling the meter” Mark said. The loss could also have been avoided by fitting a wired split meter for as little as £60.
Partial meter by-passes, which allow some usage to be metered, can be hard to detect. Experts agree that making landlord meters inaccessible is the most robust solution and placing the meter outside of the flat or room restricts that access to the wiring going into or coming out of the meter. This virtually eliminates the opportunity for tenants to install a crude and potentially dangerous by-pass using a kitchen fork or added wiring.
Metro Prepaid’s MET004 meters are available from most electrical wholesalers.
Are you losing money through electricity theft in your HMO? Please share your experiences firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know of theft directly from energy suppliers please contact your energy supplier or the UK Revenue Protection Association.