Warning over ESB meter tampering as warrants issued

March 7, 2021

BENCH warrants have been issued for two Donegal men who were found to have tampered with ESB meters at their homes. 

The cases of Damien Moss, with an address at Drumfergus, Killygordon, and Eddie McGahern, with a stated address at Lui na Greine, Letterkenny, were before Letterkenny District Court.

Neither defended was present when the cases were heard by Judge Paul Kelly.

Moss was charged with interfering with the meter on dates between between April 9, 2015 and March 13, 2018.

An ESB representative said that a magnet had been affixed and removed 30 times.

An ESB engineer called to the premises and found a magnet attached on March 13, 2018. The engineer changed the meter and left the premises/

State solicitor Mr Ciaran Liddy said that the loss of revenue amounted to €3,488.73 as well as €198 for the replacement of the meter.

The debt is being repaid via 25 per cent of each top up on a pre-pay electricity account with €2,418.62 currently outstanding, Mr Liddy said.

McGahern was charged in connection with similar offences on dates between August 31, 2017 and January 9, 2019.

An ESB engineer called to the property at Lui na Greine on January 8, 2019 to check low consumption of the meter. The engineer found that a magnet had been attached to the meter 15 times and it was replaced on the next working day, January 9, 2019.

Undercharged electricity of €385.46 has been repaid in full. An invoice amounting to €199 for the replacement of the meter remains unpaid, Mr Liddy told the court.

In respect of each defendant, Judge Paul Kelly issued a warrant for sentence.

An ESB engineer told the Court that such practices are potentially very dangerous.

“The meter has a capacity of 100 amps,” he explained. “At that point, the meter would cut out. By attaching the magnet, it by-passes the safety feature so, in theory, they could overload the meter and pose a safety risk.”