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SOLR_PROP

Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995

Theft of electricity and gas and related offences.

15.(1) In this section—

article” means any meter, line, fitting, piping, receptacle or other apparatus;

Bord Gáis Éireann” includes a subsidiary of that body;

contract of supply” means a contract for the time being in force whereby the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann agrees to supply electricity or gas, as the case may be, to a premises;

Electricity Supply Board” includes a subsidiary of that body;

interferes with”, in relation to any article, includes the doing of any of the following things, as the context admits, namely—

(a) damaging, injuring, altering or modifying the article (including opening or detaching any sealing or locking device attached to the article),

(b) in the case of a meter (without prejudice to the application of paragraph (a) to such a thing)—

(i) altering artificially the index to the meter, or

(ii) preventing the meter from duly registering a quantity of electricity or gas, as the case may be, supplied to a premises,

and cognate words shall be construed accordingly;

registered consumer of electricity or gas” means a person who has entered into a contract of supply with the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann, as the case may be;

subsidiary” has the meaning assigned to it by the Companies Act, 1963 .

(2) (a) A person who dishonestly uses, or causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity or gas shall be guilty of an offence.

(b) For the purposes of this subsection an act is done by a person dishonestly if the person does the act without claim of legal right.

(3) A person who unlawfully interferes with any article owned by or under the control of the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) If in proceedings for an offence under subsection (3) it is alleged that the defendant—

(a) altered artificially an index to a meter owned by or under the control of the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann and situate in any premises or in the precincts thereof, or

(b) prevented a meter aforesaid from duly registering a quantity of electricity or gas, as the case may be, supplied to the premises in which or in the precincts of which the said meter is situate,

and it is proved that, during the period that such alteration or prevention is alleged to have occurred or immediately thereafter—

(i) an artificial means for causing such alteration or preventing such registration, as the case may be, was present in the said premises or in the precincts thereof, and

(ii) the defendant was in occupation of the said premises,

such proof shall be prima facie evidence, in those proceedings, of the matters referred to in paragraph (a) or (b), as the case may be.

(5) A person who, without lawful excuse, manufactures, imports, sells, offers for sale, supplies or has in his or her possession any thing designed or adapted—

(a) to alter artificially the index to any meter owned by or under the control of the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann, or

(b) to prevent the due registration by such a meter of a quantity of electricity or gas, as the case may be, supplied to any premises,

(whether the thing is specifically designed or adapted to achieve such an effect only as respects a meter owned by or under the control of a body aforesaid or not) shall be guilty of an offence.

(6) (a) A registered consumer of electricity or gas who has reasonable grounds for believing that a meter to which this subsection applies is not duly registering a quantity of electricity or gas being supplied to the premises concerned by reason of the meter being unlawfully interfered with shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that such interference is discontinued.

(b) A person who fails to comply with paragraph (a) shall be guilty of an offence.

(c) This subsection applies to a meter that—

(i) is owned by or under the control of the Electricity Supply Board or Bord Gáis Éireann, and

(ii) is situate in premises or in the precincts of premises to which electricity or gas, as the case may be, is supplied under a contract of supply entered into by the registered consumer of electricity or gas concerned.

(7) (a) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (2), (3) or (5) shall be liable—

(i) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both,

(ii) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.

(b) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (6) shall be liable on summary conviction—

(i) in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding £500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both,

(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

(8) (a) A court before which a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (2), (3) or (6) may, in addition to any penalty it may impose under subsection (7) in respect of the offence, order the person to pay to the Electricity Supply Board or, as appropriate, Bord Gáis Éireann either or both of the following—

(i) such sum as it is satisfied the person owes to a body aforesaid in respect of the supply of electricity or gas and payment of which would not have been obtained by the body if the act or acts or, as the case may be, default in respect of which the person has been convicted of the offence had not been detected,

(ii) such sum as it is satisfied will compensate a body aforesaid for any damage done to an article owned by or under the control of the body, being damage that has resulted from the act or acts or, as the case may be, default in respect of which the person has been convicted of the offence.

(b) In the case of proceedings in the District Court for an offence under this section, the amount that the court may order a person to pay under this subsection in respect of the offence shall not exceed an amount equal to the difference between £1,500 and the fine (if any) it has imposed on the person in respect of the offence.

(9) (a) A court before which a person is convicted of an offence under this section may order any thing referred to in subsection (5) which was used by the person to commit the offence or, in the case of an offence under the said subsection, any thing referred to in that subsection to which the offence relates, to be forfeited and either destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as the court may determine.

(b) An order under this subsection shall not take effect until the ordinary time for instituting an appeal against the conviction or order concerned has expired or, where such an appeal is instituted, until it or any further appeal is finally decided or abandoned or the ordinary time for instituting any further appeal has expired.

(10) (a) Summary proceedings for an offence under this section may be brought by the Electricity Supply Board or, as appropriate, Bord Gáis Éireann.

(b) Notwithstanding section 10 (4) of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851 , summary proceedings for an offence under this section may be instituted within 12 months from the date of the offence.