Theft of electricity

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Theft of electricity is the criminal practice of stealing electrical power. It is a crime and is punishable by fines and/or incarceration.

According to the annual Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2015 study by the Northeast Group, LLC, the world loses US$89.3 billion annually to electricity theft. The highest losses were in India ($16.2 billion), followed by Brazil ($10.5 billion) and Russia ($5.1 billion).[1] President of Northeast Group Ben Gardner stated, "India loses more money to theft than any other country in the world. The state of Maharashtra—which includes Mumbai—alone loses $2.8 billion per year, more than all but eight countries in the world. Nationally, total transmission and distribution losses approach 23% and some states' losses exceed 50%."[2]

Types[edit]

There are various types of electrical power theft, including Tapping a line or bypassing the energy meter. According to a study[citation needed], 80% of worldwide theft occurs in private dwellings and 20% on commercial and industrial premises. The various types of electrical power theft include:

Direct hooking from line[edit]

Hooking is the most used method. 80% of global power theft is by direct tapping from the line. The consumer taps into a power line from a point ahead of the energy meter. This energy consumption is unmeasured and procured with or without switches.

Bypassing the energy meter[edit]

In this method, the input terminal and output terminal of the energy meter is short-circuited, preventing the energy from registration in the energy meter.[3]

Injecting foreign element into the energy meter[edit]

Meters are manipulated via a remote by installing a circuit inside the meter so that the meter can be slowed down at any time. This kind of modification can evade external inspection attempts because the meter is always correct unless the remote is turned on.

Physical obstruction[edit]

This type of tampering is done to electromechanical meters with a rotating element. Foreign material is placed inside the meter to obstruct the free movement of the disc. A slower rotating disk signals less energy consumption.

ESD attack on electronic meter[edit]

This type of tampering is done on electronic meter to make it either latent damage or permanent damage. Detection can be done correctly in high end meters only.

In popular culture[edit]

Katiyabaaz (Powerless), a 2014 Indian documentary film, dealt with issue of power theft in the city of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.[4]

History[edit]

On March 27, 1886 it was reported that electricity espionage was accomplished by unscrupulous persons tapping into Edison Electricity in New York. The Superintendent of the power station sent a power surge into the line to burn out or destroy foreign objects trespassing on the line. [5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]