Energy theft is a serious problem around the world that is not going away anytime soon.
A recent Forbes magazine article, “Electricity Theft: A Bigger Issue Than You Think”, states that energy theft in the U.S. alone is estimated at $6 billion U.S. dollars per year. A business case from a utility in Canada, BC Hydro, claims that electricity theft cost them at least 850 GWh or approximately $100 million U.S. dollars per year. In some countries, energy loss due to theft is estimated at over 35%.
A cost effective approach to energy theft detection is being used to combat this problem. ABB has developed a sensor that can be attached to the low voltage side of distribution transformers to measure the baseline power being delivered to the grid. Comparing this information to customer billing data can be used to detect possible fraud in energy consumption.
The ABB DistribuSense low voltage sensor utilizes a split-core current transformer to measure current and a voltage clamp to measure voltage. Both voltage and current measurements are then fed into any standard meter which works with a utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to provide a complete, remote energy theft detection system. The entire system can be efficiently installed in just minutes.
Getting real-time, remote situational awareness of the electrical grid including detecting energy theft is all part of the move toward a smarter grid. ABB’s DistribuSense sensors are an important part of that transformation.