The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with India and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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).
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%."
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There are various types of electrical power theft, including Tapping a line or bypassing the energy meter. According to a study, 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
What's known as "cable 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
In this method, the input terminal and output terminal of the energy meter is bridged, preventing the energy from registering in the energy meter.
Injecting foreign element in the energy meter
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.
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
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.
A number of approaches to detect electricity theft have been proposed. The predominant direction in research and development is employing artificial intelligence, and in particular machine learning methods, to detect customers that steal electricity.
In popular culture
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. 
- LLC, Northeast Group. "World Loses $89.3 Billion to Electricity Theft Annually, $58.7 Billion in Emerging Markets". www.prnewswire.com.
- "India To Spend $21.6 Billion On Smart Grid Infrastructure By 2025". Transmission & Distribution World. 12 February 2015.
- Sreenivasan (2017). Power Theft. NewDelhi: PHI Learning[P]Ltd. pp. 87–88. ISBN 9788120352810.
- Glauner, P.; et al. (2017). "The Challenge of Non-Technical Loss Detection using Artificial Intelligence: A Survey". International Journal of Computational Intelligence Systems. 10 (1): 760–775. arXiv:1606.00626. doi:10.2991/ijcis.2017.10.1.51.
- "'Katiyabaaz': A documentary maker challenges mainstream space". The Times of India. Aug 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
- "People Who Steal Edison's Electricity". Daily Yellowstone journal. March 27, 1886. Retrieved 2016-07-09.