Electricity and gas suppliers and gas transporters have the right to enter your home to:1Sch 6 paras 6(1) and (2) and 7(1) and (2) EA 1989; Sch 2B paras 16, 17, 23(1), 24, 24(2), 26, 27 and 27(1) GA 1986
•inspect fittings or to read the meter – no advance notice has to be given;
•disconnect supply on non-payment of bills (this does not apply to gas transporters). Electricity suppliers must give one working day’s notice, and gas suppliers 24 hours’ notice (this may be waived on grounds of public safety or tampering);
•discontinue supply or remove a meter under their powers in connection with theft and tampering (see Chapter 9). Gas suppliers must give 24 hours’ notice;
•discontinue supply or remove a meter where it is no longer wanted. Electricity suppliers must give two working days’ notice and gas suppliers 24 hours’ notice;
•replace, repair or alter pipes, lines or plant. Electricity suppliers must give five working days’ notice (unless it is an emergency, in which case notice must be given as soon as possible afterwards), and gas suppliers seven days’ notice.
Notice should be given in writing and can be served by post or by hand, or by attaching it to any obvious part of the premises. Once any required notice has been given, suppliers may use these rights at any reasonable time. ‘Reasonable’ is not defined but should be taken to mean at reasonable times of the day – ie, not late at night, or on religious festivals and public holidays such as Christmas Day, or when the supplier knows that it would cause you difficulty.
If your supply is disconnected for any reason other than to do with safety, gas suppliers and transporters also have the right to enter your home to check that the gas supply has not been reconnected without consent.
Electricity suppliers do not have the power to inspect or read the meter if you have written to them asking for the supply to be disconnected and this has not been done within a reasonable time.
A gas transporter also has the right to enter your home if it has reasonable cause to suspect that gas is, or might be, escaping, or that escaped gas has entered your premises, in order to do any necessary work to prevent the escape or to avert danger to life or property.
Officials representing the supplier or transporter must produce official identification when using any of the above powers.
If you intentionally obstruct an official exercising any of the above powers of entry, you can be fined up to £1,000, although you cannot be punished if the official does not have a warrant.2s1(3) RE(GEB)A 1954
Suppliers must leave the premises no less secure than they found them, and must pay compensation for any damage caused.
Always check that the correct person is named in the warrant application and that the fuel debt does not relate to another person – eg, a previous resident.