• Electricity theft is at the center of focus all over the
world but electricity theft in India has a significant
effect on the Indian economy, as this figure is
• The losses, experts say, are currently 29 % of the total
generation, which equals a shocking Rs 45,000 crore in
the fiscal year 2009-10
• According to experts, if not for these losses over a
decade now, India could have built two mega power
plants of around 4,000 MW capacity every year
• Power loss in 2001-02 was 32.86% and increased to
34.78% in 2003-04 . In 2008-09 , it stood at 28.44% but
currently the figure is again 29%. It is as high as 51% in
Jharkhand, 45% in Madhya Pradesh and 40% in Bihar.
The normal practice for power theft is to short the input
and output terminals or to place a magnet on the wheel
in case of old meters.
Few other ways for Power theft are
• Use of single phase supply from three phase supply.
• Disconnected neutral from both the ends.
• Used earth/separate neutral for return circuit.
• Connecting phase voltage to neutral of used single phase supply. Potential
difference w.r.t. neutral of used single phase supply is zero. Hence power,
product of voltage and current, will be zero.
• Isolating neutral from both ends.
• Drilling pin hole in meter box and in meter near MRI port.
• Disturbing electronic common reference point of measurement.
These are some of the more common methods of identifying
electricity theft today:
• Financial Rewards - Utility companies encourage consumers to
report electricity theft, sometimes offering big rewards for
information leading to conviction of anyone stealing electricity.
Unfortunately, most cases are never identified.
• Periodic Checks - Electricity theft frequently takes place after
service has been disconnected. Some utility companies periodically
check disconnected meters if the customer has not contacted them
to reconnect service. This labor-intensive, manual process has little
chance of success.
• Meter Readers - Utility meter readers typically suspect that
electricity theft is taking place when they find a broken meter tag or
other signs of tampering. But as more utility companies outsource
the meter reading function to third parties, training meter readers
to detect theft is becoming more difficult and less efficient. In
addition, third party meter readers do not read disconnected
Developments until now :
• Power theft detection circuit
Patent number : 4532471 ( 30.07.1985)
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for detecting the
theft of power when a short circuit jumper is coupled across a line
conductor passing through watt-hour meter. However the method is
costlier to be implemented and it has no way of alerting the authorities
unless a regular survey is done.
• Power theft detection system
Patent number : US20080109387A1(May 8th 2008)
The system finds out the power theft by monitoring the total power
consumption, receiving the delivered power data that includes data
delivered to a number of users. Determining the amount of difference
between them, thus finding out if power theft has occurred. But there lies
no specific way to find out where the power theft has occurred
• Ineffective and inefficient present methods of detecting
and preventing Power theft cause a revenue loss along with
damage to personal and Public property
• Large amount of power shortage is caused due to power
• One of the challenges in stopping power theft is the
difficulty in detecting power theft. In particular it is difficult
to find the exact location where power theft is occurring.
• Measurement of parameters like power line current and
power line voltage has not been available in a satisfactory
way to optimize power network management
• The motivation for us to take up this project is the current inefficient
distribution system of the electricity boards all over the world.
• Also the present inability of the authorities in applying the existing laws in
a stringent form has encouraged more and more people to involve in such
• In case we develop a effective system to remotely monitor the use of
power and are able to detect power theft at the exact location in a
accurate and cost effective way, such huge losses can be prevented.
• This kind of money could definitely be used for the development of the
quality of electricity board and its service. The severe power shortage can
be overcome by the implementation of our simple system.
• More over this kind of implementation of proper billing to all the
customers would reduce the reckless use of power and would surely help
us to build a greener and more eco friendly environment for ourselves.
• As the majority of the power we generated is by burning coal, which adds
to the already severe problem of the green house effect.
• Thus our group has been motivated to bring up this completely unique
method of remotely sensing power theft in most of the possible ways.
The major building blocks of this
• Regulated power supply.
• RF transmitter and Receiver.
• Two Micro controller boards.
• Serial Port interfacing
• Meter and line pulse sensor
• Relay system
• MAX 232 Interface
• In our system, a micro controller is interfaced with an
energy metering circuit, current sensing circuit, RF
communication link & a contactor to make or break power
line. At the sub-station end, a pc is connected with a RF link
to communicate with all energy meters & a buzzer
• In normal condition, micro controller reads energy pulses &
current signals. If current is drawing &energy pulses are
normal, then no power theft is being done & the o/p is
connected. If current is drawing & energy pulses are not
coming, then it indicates power theft. So microcontroller
trips the o/p using relay. This information is sent to
substation using wireless communication
• In the substation, it receives the information in the form of
digital codes & on decoding it, we can know at which house
power theft occurred.
• Microcontroller PIC16F73
• The PIC16F73 CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller
• Operating speed: DC - 20 MHz clock input
DC - 200 ns instruction cycle
• Features 8 channels of 8-bit Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converter
• Up to 8K x 14 words of FLASH Program Memory, Up to 368 x 8 bytes
of Data Memory (RAM)
• A synchronous serial port that can be configured as either 3-wire
SPI or 2-wire I2C bus,
• a Universal Synchronous Asynchronous Receiver
• a Parallel Slave Port.
• Only 35 single word instructions to learn
• Interrupt capability (up to 12 sources)
• Eight level deep hardware stack
• The 433 MHz Parallax RF Transceiver Module
• 3.3 to 5.0VDC, Transmit: 12mA, Receive: 6.1 mA
Power Down: 11.5 uA
• High speed data transfer rates: 1200-9600 bps
• Asynchronous serial data (TTL/CMOS compatible)
• SIP header allows for ease of use with breadboards
• Compatible with most microcontrollers including the Propeller chip and
all BASIC Stamp models
• Power-down mode for conservative energy usage (longer battery life)
• Line of sight range up to 250 feet (depending on operating conditions)
• The ST-RX02-ASK
• A effective low cost solution for using at 315/433.92 MHZ.
• Receiver Frequency: 315 / 433.92 MHZ
• Typical sensitivity: -105dBm
• Supply Current: 3.5mA
• IF Frequency:1MHz
• This project of ours is aimed at reducing the heavy power and
revenue losses that occur due to power theft by the customers.
• We by this design would like to conclude that the power theft can
be effectively curbed by detecting where the power theft occurs
inform the authorities. Also a automatic circuit breaker may be
integrated to the unit so as to remotely cut off the power supply to
the house or consumer who tries to indulge in power theft.
• The ability of our system to inform or send data digitally to a
remote station using wireless radio link adds a large amount of
possibilities to the way the power supply is controlled by the
• We have come up with is fool proof when it comes to detecting and
preventing the power theft as, we have taken into consideration a
large number of possibilities in which the power theft may occur
and have designed accordingly to prevent it.
• Thus by the above mentioned design we can successfully and
effectively address the problems related to power theft by the
consumers, in a completely automated, wire-free, cost effective and
most importantly a reliable way.
• IEEE links for this project:
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