Electricity theft is an progressively common problem in a lot of countries. The theft of electricity is the major interest of transmission and distribution losses in the supply of electricity not in the generation. Power utilities have revealed huge financial losses due to theft and nonpayment. Power Theft is a serious crime that people are not attentive about, some may think that the distribution companies provide a poor service and make high profits so stealing the power will not affect their operations, but this theft causes a great damage to the companies and customers. These huge losses prohibit the utility companies to upgrade their services to keep up with the technological trends in developed countries which put us on another problem facing the legal consumers like poor reliability of electricity supply, quality and load shedding. All energy companies agree with the same degree of losses concerned in the technical and non-technical losses, but the aim of this paper is the non-technical loss which refers to the losses caused by the consumers in the form of electricity thievery and non-payment of bills or in another words, the undetected load consumed.
There are several types and methods which electricity thievery may cause but the most commonly ways used are meter tampering and meter bypassing and physical methods to avoid paying high bills. Basically, connecting a direct wire-connection to a major power route passing, so that electricity can flow without crossing the meter installed by the supplier. Here are some of the common methods of illegal electricity-theft.
Meter Tampering: This method occurs by grounding the neutral wire causing the meter to assume an incomplete circuit and it does measure the reading.
Meter bypass: It occurs by shortening the input terminal and output terminal of the energy meter by a wire preventing the register of energy in the reading.
Illegal terminal taps of overhead lines on the low-tension side of the transformer: Primarily, electricity theft change the power of whole division , tapping of the low. The tension side of the transformer result in overloading which causes tripping and can lead to blackout. Illegal tapping to peel wires or underground cables: This is the most involved method for theft of energy. 80% of total energy theft around the world is done by direct tapping from line. The consumer taps into a direct power line from a point ahead of the energy. This energy source can’t be measured in its use and gained by switches or not.
Unpaid bills: Non-payment of bills by people, government institutions and untouchable VIPs results in utility running at a loss and increase in electricity progressively.
Billing irregularities: This mixes the inexact meter reading taken by bribed servicemen and intentional fixing of the bill by office staffs in swap of prohibited payments from the consumers. As the current billing system minimally able to notice power theft even if the detection is possible the distribution company will still be unable to keep on track of the changing maximum power for the consumer. So, various methods were proposed to detect electricity theft like replacing the post-paid energy meters with prepaid meters, although this method was good but still failed to solve the problem because of the requirement of large manpower and due to dishonesty of workers.