Meter Tampering – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the consequences of tampering with a gas meter?

Tampering with a gas meter is illegal, and potentially exposes people to the risk of a gas explosion, serious injury or even death. Those who tamper with gas meters not only put themselves at risk, but also other occupants of that property, neighbours and members of the general public. It is also illegal to ask, pay or allow someone else to tamper with your meter.

Are people who tamper with meters liable to be prosecuted?

Gas meter tampering is a criminal offence. Members of the public who tamper with their own or other people’s meters are guilty of an offence and so liable for prosecution. If convicted of an offence under certain sections of the Gas Act legislation, they may be liable, at the discretion of the court, to pay a fine up to the value of 100 penalty points of which the 2015 value is $1,540, and in certain circumstances may result in criminal sentencing. In addition offenders may have their gas service permanently removed.

How are meters tampered with?

The method of interfering with the meter varies but in all cases such activity is illegal and dangerous. By law, only Tas Gas representatives and Registered Gas Installers are authorised to work on natural gas meters and gas pipework. By tampering with a meter, unauthorised people are not just putting their own safety at risk, but the safety of their families, neighbours and the general public.

If a suspected case of tampering is reported, what happens?

All sites suspected of meter tampering are visited by a Tas Gas Approved Person and the meter is inspected. If they suspect interference, the meter will be either exchanged or removed. If the meter is exchanged the customer can still consume gas at this point.
The removed meter is returned to Tas Gas and re-inspected, tested and evidence of tampering is reconfirmed. The removed meter is stored securely and Tas Gas will issue a letter to the occupant of the premises advising them of the interference found at the site and the necessary steps to resolve the matter. At the same time Tas Gas will advise the Office of Gas Standards and Safety a section within the Department of Justice.

What is involved if tampering has been confirmed at a residential property?

When meter tampering has been confirmed at a residential site, Tas Gas requires the end-user to make payment for the damaged meter and arrange for a new Gas Fitting Notice to be submitted by a licenced gas fitter as per the Gas Act 2000 and the Gas (Safety) Regulations 2014.
The end-user’s gas Retailer may also be in contact in relation to the unrecorded consumption as a result of the meter tampering.
Should tampering be uncovered at an industrial or commercial site, the costs associated are considerably higher than those applied at a residential property.

What is a Gas Fitting Notice?

By law, only a registered gas fitter can carry out gas works in your home. Tas Gas recommends that gas users have their gas appliances serviced and their installation inspected for safety every 12 months, and this work can only be carried out by a registered gas fitter.

Are letters from Tas Gas directed at the ‘occupier’ of the house or the owner?
It is important to ensure that the current resident or occupant at the premises is informed of what Tas Gas has found after inspecting the meter. From a safety perspective Tas Gas must inform the current occupier.

Is there a risk that the gas supply will be disconnected?

If on initial inspection there is an obvious and deliberate attempt to interfere with any Tas Gas equipment then the supply may be immediately disconnected and you will not be able to continue to use the gas supply. Also, if Tas Gas deems that there is a safety concern on the site or if the matter is not resolved the supply may also be disconnected.
Where Tas Gas has provided the end-user with a new gas meter and a payment has been received and the gas fitting notice must be received within 48 hours. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the disconnection of the supply at the site.

What is the reconnection fee at a residential property?

If the supply is disconnected, the residential end-user can still re-connect by paying current fee to their Gas Retailer.

How do I report if I suspect someone of tampering with a meter?

If you suspect meter tampering is taking place you can confidentially report it to Tas Gas on 1800 770 018. Reports are taken very seriously and will be investigated.