Possible Applications of Smart Meters, including Electricity Theft Detection

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Dr. Raisz Dávid Márk
Department of Electric Power Engineering

The introduction of smart metering is a current issue in Hungary. The Hungarian Energy Office called upon experts to study the introduction of smart metering and utilities have started to test smart meters in small pilot projects. The European Union supports smart metering as well, because it can help to realize two of her directives. Since the rate of introduction and the meter types are not decided yet, it might be particularly worth to investigate the local attributes like illegal electricity consumption. Its significance and detection methods are investigated in the thesis. Although, smart meters may have different tamper detecting indications depending on the type of the meter, they are able to provide more input data for a possible searching algorithm compared to their conventional predecessors.

In the first part of the thesis, an overview of the Hungarian pilots is given and the most frequently used meter types are discussed.

In the second part, the thesis is dealing with utility losses. The technical and non-technical losses of a particular utility are presented with their potential sources. The non-technical losses are highlighted, especially the fraudulent ones. Methods currently used for tampering are introduced, as well as attempts for finding and punishing irregularities.

Finally, a new method for electricity theft detection, developed during the thesis project, is introduced with the application of smart meters. The proposed method is capable of indicating the place and quantity of illegal electricity consumption for an investigated time period in case of proper knowledge about the network and high accuracy measurements. The effect of measurement and data inaccuracies on the algorithm is simulated considering realistic circumstances. Taking the costs and benefits of this additional fraud detection into account, this method can help to accelerate the return of the investment.


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