Following a sharp increase in the number of incidents where customers have carried out ‘home-made’ alterations to their electricity supply or meter, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has today issued the warning “Don’t try this at home – it’s not worth the risk”.

In 2017, SSEN investigated 37 cases of 'illegal service alterations', with 28 instances discovered so far in 2018. This has included customers moving the location of their meter, creating additional connections to outbuildings and garden areas and even running a DIY electrical supply to private horse stables.

Shane Scarsbrook heads up SSEN’s Revenue Protection team, which is responsible for ensuring the safety, security and integrity of the company’s equipment across its network. Speaking about this increase in illegal activities, he said:

“This increase is clearly very concerning, as each of these occasions could have easily resulted in a very serious injury, or worse. If you interfere with the electricity network you're not only exposing yourself to the risk of serious and potentially fatal injuries, the outcome for your friends and family could also be life-changing.

“No matter how innocent their intentions, any customer interfering with the electricity network is literally taking their life in their hands with every turn of the screw or snip with the clippers. Our message is clear: Don't try this at home, it's not worth the risk.”

SSEN is also keen to highlight the illegality of unauthorised and ‘DIY’ work on their network, as it constitutes “tampering and damage to plant” as laid out in the Electricity Act (1989).

Service alterations and modifications to domestic and commercial service cables have the potential to impact not only those carrying out the work, but also the occupants of the building as well as neighbouring properties. Where work at the point of connection to the network has been carried out by unauthorised contractors, the quality of materials and workmanship will not meet legal regulations. Substandard work could also impact on other areas of our network, create dangerous connections for our customers or cause frequent power cuts.

If you come across any damage to the electricity network, or you see something that doesn't look right, please don't touch it, call 105 and SSEN will arrange for an engineer to attend as soon as possible to check the situation and, if necessary, make it safe again.