The dark and dangerous world of energy theft is an ever-increasing problem. It’s estimated that stolen supplies of gas and electricity cost the industry £500 million per year.
Often, the crude methods used to illegally obtain supplies run the risk of fatal electric shocks and gas explosions – a high price to avoid paying what’s due. BBC1’s ‘The One Show’ recently reported on the issue stating that last year alone saw 150,000 reported cases of suspected meter tampering.
Field engineers employed by energy suppliers are responsible for inspecting properties suspected of theft. Naturally, with the threat of prosecution and serious consequences should they be found guilty, the inspections can rapidly escalate in to aggressive and hostile situations.
With the threat of danger both from potential offenders and hazardous environments, it is vital that gas Engineers have a means to call for help in an emergency. British Gas, the UK’s largest energy and home services supplier have recently turned to Skyguard to protect over 3,000 lone working Engineers. Employees have been equipped with Skyguard’s MySOS personal alarms, providing 24-hour back up and support.
The keyfob-sized device was put to the test when an Engineer was threatened after discovering a tampered meter. One press of the SOS alarm button and the device instantly linked him to Skyguard’s 24/7 operated Incident Management Centre. As the MySOS is fitted with GPS location technology, Controllers were able to direct assistance to the exact location using a variety of mapping tools and co-ordinates.
British Gas have found that having Skyguard as a backup for their lone workers is an important tool in their bid to reduce energy theft as well as safely carry out all other tasks. Douglas Watt, a spokesperson for the organisation explained,