FAQ

What is electricity

Electricity is the flow of electrical charge. It is a basic part of nature and one of our most widely used forms of energy. Every day, we use electricity to do many jobs for us from lighting and heating/cooling our homes, to powering our televisions and computers.

What is the difference between 3-phase and single-phase electricity?

A phase is the fractional part of the period of a sinusoidal wave, usually expressed in electrical degrees. A single-phase circuit is an alternating-current using only one, sine wave type, current flow. A three-phase circuit consists of three different sine wave current flows, different in phase by 120 degrees from each other. Now let’s have the more practical, “down to earth” definition – something that the average homeowner would at least have a chance of understanding: Single phase: a circuit that consists of three wires live, neutral, and ground (earth). The main breaker in a single phase system is a single pole breaker, resembling the others in the panel, only with a higher capacity. Three phase: a circuit where the main breaker switches off three poles. For most homeowners, this is the equivalent of having 3 separate main breakers that are divided among the circuits of the home. There are 5 wires that normally constitute a three-phase line, although in many homes the three phases simply supply the main and sub panels, but continue throughout most of the home as single-phase lines. In most homes, there are not many devices that run on three phase electricity. However, examples may include a three-phase central air conditioner, a three-phase oven, a 3 phase swimming pool pump, or a large 3 phase hot water boiler.

In United States, the air conditioners are rated in BTU. They are rated in kilowatts elsewhere. How to convert one to the other?

BTU/hour = 0.000293 KW BTU (British Thermal Unit), is a British standard unit of energy. One BTU is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree F. This is the standard measurement used normally in the western countries to measure the output of many air conditioning and heating devices. There is also a kilowatt of energy which is sometimes used instead of BTU, but this can easily be confused with the more common use of kilowatt as a unit of power (which is actually 1000 watts).

What is meant by AC, DC, and frequency?

Electricity is said to flow when electrons in a suitable material (a ‘conductor’) are induced to move in a particular direction when a suitable force (an ‘electromotive force’ or EMF) is applied to the material. This flow of electricity is called an electrical current and is measured in terms of amperes (usually shortened to amps). The EMF is measured in terms of volts. Direct Current (DC) electricity is the easiest to visualize because here the electrons (the electrical current) always move in the same direction. A battery is the EMF source most commonly used to produce small amounts of direct electrical current. For example, the common torch uses a battery as the EMF source. Electrical current flows from one side (e.g. the positive side) of the battery, through the element in the torch bulb (in the process heating the element to produce light) and completes the circuit back to the other side (e.g. the negative side) of the battery. Alternating Current (AC) electricity can be thought of as electricity that flows in one direction for a short period of time, then reverses its direction of flow for a short period of time, then reverses flow again, and again, and again’. Why does it do this? It’s because the EMF source is not constant and changes its polarity (positive and negative sides) in a regular manner. The rate at which the electrical current changes direction through a full cycle (flows in one direction, changes direction and flows in the opposite direction then changes back to the original direction) is called its ‘frequency’. In Australia and most of the rest of the world, AC electricity has a frequency of 50 cycles per second. America uses 60 cycles per second AC electricity.

What is meant by the term phase?

Alternating Current (AC) electricity changes its direction of flow in a regular, cyclic manner. Because electrical current flows in response to an applied voltage, the voltage of the AC supply must also have been changing polarity from positive to negative and back again at the same frequency as the alternating current. The distribution line supplying your home may be single phase and have only two wires strung between the poles (we will use the overhead power lines as examples because they can be easily seen). However, the distribution line may be made up of 4 lines. What are the others? The other lines carry the currents from two other electrical circuits, making a total of three circuits. Because these circuits are electrically linked (see below), they are called phases. The reason why there are only 4 lines is because the 3 phases have a common neutral line (i.e. 3 active lines and 1 common neutral line).

What is electricity theft?

Obtaining electricity without the approval of utility constitutes electricity theft and is therefore illegal.

How electricity theft affects you?

Please refer to the book on Power Theft

What should I do on seeing electricity theft/ power theft?

Please report to the utility services. Or you may refer the matter to this site also which will in turn make the details available to the concerned department. This is possible only in the case of electricity Theft/Power theft.

My meter is recording too much. What should I do?

This is a common complaint. Before complaining to the utility see that no energy is wasted. For this, you may refer Tips & Tricks of this site. There are chances of leakage of current also. This may be tested by a qualified electrician.

What is AMR and Smart Metering?

Please refer to the book on Power Theft

Can electricity be produced wireless or cableless just like telephony in order to control theft of electricity?

Transmitting energy over the air which will ultimately be used as electricity to power things is possible. The only commercial application is power cost. It operates by absorbing the low RF energy transmitted from an outlet or energy source and converting that into a usable electricity. However wireless electricity will be harder to prevent theft or because of the nature of RF.

How to ask for a checking of my electricity meter? I think my bill is too high compared to the electricity actually consumed.

There are three types of checking of electricity meters: checking with a calibrator, checking without a calibrator and independent examination. The first two types are performed by electricity technicians from the company and the third one by experts

Which is safer, Alternating current (AC), or Direct current(DC)?

Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) have slightly different effects on the human body, but both are dangerous above a certain voltage. The risk of injury changes according to the frequency of the AC, and it is common for DC to have an AC component (called ripple). Someone with special equipment can measure this, but the effect on a particular person is very difficult to predict as it depends upon a large number of factors. As a consequence, you should always avoid contact with high voltage electrical conductors, regardless of the type of electrical current they are carrying.

How do I know if my electrical equipment is safe?

You can find out if your electrical equipment is safe by carrying out suitable checks, such as inspection and/or testing. The level of inspection and/or testing should depend upon the risks. A simple visual inspection is likely to be sufficient for equipment used in a clean dry environment. In addition, equipment that is more likely to become damaged or is operated in a harsh environment is likely to require more demanding electrical tests. Checks should be carried out often enough that there is little chance the equipment will become unsafe before the next check. It is good practice to make a decision on how often each piece of equipment should be checked, write down the decision, make sure the check is carried out, and write down the results. You should change how often you carry out checks according to the number and severity of faults found. The best way to find out if specialized equipment is safe is to have it inspected and tested by a person with specific competence on the type of equipment. This may be the original manufacturer or his

How often should I test my electrical equipment?

Electrical equipment should be visually checked to spot early signs of damage or deterioration. Equipment should be more thoroughly tested by a competent person often enough that there is little chance that the equipment will become dangerous between tests. Equipment that is used in a harsh environment should be tested more frequently than equipment that is less likely to become damaged or unsafe. It is good practice to assess how often equipment being used for work purposes should be tested, write down your findings, make sure the testing is carried out, and write down the results of the tests.

How often should I get my electrical installation tested?

Electrical installations should be tested often enough that there is little chance of deterioration leading to danger. Any part of an installation that has become obviously defective between tests should be de-energized until the fault can be fixed.

Who should I talk about electrical safety?

In the first instance a competent electrical contractor should be able to give advice on electrical safety, and should also be able to direct you to a suitable electrical engineer for advice about specialist areas. If you cannot get satisfactory answers

What should I do if I think if someone is working unsafely?

If you think someone is working unsafely you should ask him or her to stop immediately and tell their supervisor. If you are still unhappy with how someone is working, you should contact nearest utility office.

How do I work safely near overhead lines?

It can be difficult to identify the voltage of overhead lines. So you should always assume overhead lines are dangerous when planning work near them.

What voltages are dangerous?

A wide range of voltages can be dangerous for different reasons. A very low voltage (such as that produced by a single torch battery) can produce a spark powerful enough to ignite an explosive atmosphere. Batteries (such as those in motor vehicles) can also overheat or explode if they are shorted. If a person comes into contact with a voltage above about 50 volts, they can receive a range of injuries including those directly resulting from the electrical shock (stopped breathing, heart, etc), and indirect effects resulting from loss of control (such as falling from a height or coming into contact with moving machinery). The chance of being injured by an electric shock increases where it is damp or where there is a lot of metalwork.

Why did the USA choose 120V for household current and Europe to choose 220V?

It appears that the 120 was chosen somewhat arbitrarily. Edison came up with a high-resistance lamp filament he thought desirable to keep distribution losses down. In 1882, he applied for patents on a 3-wire system which gave 220v transmission with 110v lamps.

Why does US use 60 cycles and Europe use 50 cycles?

Many frequencies were used in the 19th Century for various applications, with the most prevalent being the 60 c/s supplied by Westinghouse-designed central stations for incandescent lamps. The development of a synchronous converter which operated best at 60 cycles encouraged convergence toward that standard. Around 1900, the introduction of the high-speed turbine led to settlement on two standards: 25 cycles for transmission and for large motors (this had been a compromise decision at Niagara Falls), and 60 cycles for general purpose systems. Meanwhile, in Germany, AEG — which used 50 cycles — had a virtual monopoly, and this standard spread to the rest of the continent. In Britain, differing frequencies proliferated, and Britain only settled on the 50 cycle standard after World War II.

My electricity bills are too high. What should I do?

This is a common complaint. Please refer the ‘Tips & Tricks’ of this website and see how intelligently an optimistically the various appliances can be used?

What is PLF?

Capacity Utilization (or) Plant Load Factor: This is basically a performance index of a unit/station/utility. The ratio of the Electrical energy produced in the reference period to the maximum possible energy that could have been produced had the generating capacity been operating continuously at its maximum level during the reference period it is expressed in the percentage and is calculated as shown below. PLF =Gross hourly generation over the reference period X 100 Total hours in the reference period X generating capacity

What is EL LED? What does it signify if it glows?

The full form of EL LED is Earth Leakage Light Emitting Diode. An EL LED indicator is available on all electronic meters. If this EL LED glows it indicates an unequal current flowing through the phase and neutral wires. This mismatch can be either due to shortening of neural to earth or leakage of current to earth or that the wire of two premises is touching each other.

What is greenhouse gases?

Those gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride, that are transparent to solar (short-wave) radiation but opaque to long-wave (infrared)radiation, thus preventing long-wave radiant energy from leaving Earth’s atmosphere. The net effect is a trapping of absorbed radiation and a tendency to warm the planet’s surface.

What is Global warming?

An increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is today most often used to refer to the warming some scientists predict will occur as a result of increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases

What is Smart Grid?

Most of the world’s electricity delivery system or ‘grid’ was built when energy was relatively inexpensive. While minor upgrades have been made to meet increasing demand, the grid still operates the way it did almost 100 years ago’energy flows over the grid from central power plants to consumers, and reliability is ensured by maintaining excess capacity. The result is an inefficient and environmentally wasteful system that is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, consumer of fossil fuels, and not well suited to distributed, renewable solar and wind energy sources. In addition, the grid may not have sufficient capacity to meet future demand. Several trends have combined to increase awareness of these problems, including greater recognition of climate change, commitments to reduce carbon emissions, rising fuel costs, and technology innovation. In addition, recent studies support a call for change: A new, more intelligent electric system, or Smart Grid, is required that combines information technology (IT) with renewable energy to significantly improve how electricity is generated, delivered, and consumed. A Smart Grid provides utility companies with near-real-time information to manage the entire electrical grid as an integrated system, actively sensing and responding to changes in power demand, supply, costs, and emissions from rooftop solar panels on homes, to remote, unmanned wind farms, to energy-intensive factories. A Smart Grid is a major advance from today, where utility companies have only basic information about how the grid is operating, with much of that information arriving too late to prevent a major power failure or blackout ( Courtesy Author Wes Frye, Director, Sustainable Energy Cisco Internet Business Solutions)

What is Base-load plant?

Base-load plant Base-load power stations, largely coal-fired and nuclear, are designed to operate continuously

What is meant by combined cycle power generation?

A technology for producing electricity from otherwise lost waste heat as it exits from one or more gas (combustion) turbines

What is meant by daily pack?

The maximum amount of energy demanded in one day by electricity consumers

What is meant by Demand-side management (DSM)?

Planning, implementing and monitoring activities to encourage consumers to use electricity more efficiently, including both the timing and level of electricity demand

What is Embedded derivative?

A financial instrument that causes some or all cash flows that would otherwise be required by a contract to be modified according to a specified variable such as a currency

What is meant by sustainability performance index (ESPI)?

Index covering technical, economic, environmental and social measures to score sustainable performance

Flashover

Electrical insulation breakdown

What is Forced outage?

Shutdown of a generating unit, transmission line or another facility for emergency reasons or a condition in which generating equipment is unavailable for load due to unanticipated breakdown

Independent power producer (IPP)

Any entity, other than Discom, that owns or operates, in whole or in part, one or more independent power production facilities

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

Basic unit of electric energy equal to one kilowatt of power supplied to or taken from an electric circuit steadily for one hour; one kilowatt-hour equals 1 000 watt-hours

What is load management?

Activities to influence the level and shape of demand for electrical energy so demand conforms to the present supply situation, long-term objectives and constraints

Load shifting

The transfer of loads from peak to off-peak periods; eg in situations where a utility does not expect to meet demand during peak periods but has excess capacity in off-peak periods

Load shedding

Scheduled and controlled power cuts by rotating available capacity between all customers when demand is greater than supply to avoid total blackouts in the supply area

Outage

The period in which a generating unit, transmission line, or other facility is out of service

Peak demand

Maximum power used in a given period, traditionally between 07:00 to 10:00 and 18:00 to 21:00

Peaking capacity

Generating equipment normally operated only during hours of highest daily, weekly or seasonal loads

Power pool

An association of two or more interconnected electricity supply systems that agree to coordinate operations and seek improved reliability and efficiencies

Pumped-storage scheme

A pumped-storage scheme consists of a lower and an upper reservoir with a power station/pumping plant between the two. During off-peak periods the reversible pump/turbines use electricity to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir. During peak demand, water is allowed to run back into the lower reservoir through the turbines thereby generating electricity

Reserve margin

Difference between net system capability and the system’s maximum load requirements (peak load or peak demand)

Supply-side management (SSM)

Planning, implementing and monitoring supply-side activities to create opportunities for cost-effective purchase, management, generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and all other associated activities

What are the components of Bulk Electricity tariff of Hydro Plants?

Hydro tariff means the Annual Fixed Charges (AFC) in respect of each Hydro Generating Station which is determined by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. The components of AFC are 1. Interest on loan capital 2. Depreciation. 3. Return on equity. 4. Operation and maintenance expenses. 5. Interest on working capital. The AFC is recovered in the form of capacity charges (50% of AFC) and energy charges (50% of AFC).

How much Return on Equity is allowed to Hydro Generating Stations?

Return on Equity is allowed on a pre-tax basis at the base rate of 15.5%. Rate of pre-tax return on equity = 15.5 (1-t) t = applicable tax rate.

What is the functionality of the pulse output of energy meter?

The pulse output sends out a proportional amount of pulses to the consumed kilowatt hours.

What are the advantages of electronic meter over a conventional electromechanical meter?

Electronic meters have the following attributes in comparison to the electro-mechanical meters: Tamper proof: – Measure accurately in various tampered conditions and also records the numbers of tampering events whereas electromechanical meter does not record in tampered condition and may even start running in reverse direction also. More life: – More sustainable than an electromechanical meter. Current Range: – Wider current range hence; if the load of the consumer is beyond the range of meter even when the excess load can be recorded easily. Stability: – Highly stable, no drift over a long time. Wear & Tear: – solid-state technology hence no wear & Tear. Power Loss: – Loss in voltage circuit is low as compared to electromechanical meter. Safety to consumer household wiring. Provides Earth Leakage detection. Provides stored information which facilitates verification for future reference.

Will my meters change if I switch energy suppliers?

No. Your meters will not be changed in any way when you change supplier unless you request them to be.

Pelton Wheel

It is called the free-jet turbine or Pelton wheel, a type of impulse turbine, named after L. A. Pelton who invented it in 1880. Water passes through nozzles and strikes spoon-shaped buckets or cups arranged on the periphery of a runner, or wheel, which causes the runner to rotate, producing mechanical energy. The runner is fixed on a shaft, and the rotational motion of the turbine is transmitted by the shaft to a generator.

piezo-electricity

The generation of surface charges in response to applied stresses in some types of crystals. The crystalline structure produces a voltage proportional to the mechanical pressure. Conversely, when an electric field is applied, the structure changes shape producing dimensional changes in the material. A familiar piezoelectric material is quartz.

Biogas

A combustible gas created by anaerobic decomposition, or fermentation, of biomass – organic material (including animal dung, human sewage, crop residues, and industrial and municipal wastes). It is composed primarily of methane (up to 60%), which is the combustible component, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. Biogas is produced in an air-tight container, called an anaerobic digester, and is used as a fuel to heat stoves, lamps, run small machines, and to generate electricity. The residues of biogas production are used as a low-grade organic fertilizer. Biogas fuels do not usually cause any pollution to the atmosphere, and because they come from

British thermal unit (BTU)

The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water from 59.5° to 60.5°F at one atmosphere pressure. One BTU (or Btu) = 778.3 foot-pounds = 252 calories = 0.293 watt-hours = 1,055 joules. BTU conversion factors for site energy are as follows: Electricity ….. 3,412 BTU/kilowatt-hour Natural Gas ….. 1,031 BTU/cubic foot Fuel Oil No.1 ….. 135,000 BTU/gallon Kerosene ….. 135,000 BTU/gallon Fuel Oil No.2 ….. 138,690 BTU/gallon LPG (Propane) ….. 91,330 BTU/gallon Wood ….. 20 million BTU/cord

Why do you write 'Static' in your meters?

Because in our Meters, current and voltage act on solid state (electronic) elements to produce an output pulse frequency proportional to watt-hours

What is DSP?

DSPs (Digital Signal Processors) are processors whose hardware, software and instruction sets are optimized for high-speed numeric processing applications–an essential for processing digital data representing analog signals in real time.

What is MRI?

MRI (Meter Reading Instrument) is a data collector (computer or more precisely a handheld computer), to retrieve energy consumption related data from the Electronic Meters using optical sensors. Generally, the meter reader takes MRI to the customer site and connects it to the meter. Data is transferred from the meter to the MRI. The meter reader brings the MRI to the filling station. The data is downloaded into the main billing computer of the utility board.

What makes a smart grid different from today's grid?

It’s the conversation and the functionality.

What are feed-in tariffs

Feed-in tariffs are simply payments for generation. They are payments, or tariffs, for renewably-generated electricity and heat. They are paid to the producers for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they generate. Consider this: If you decided today to send someone a letter, would you choose a typewriter or a computer? Most people would select a computer because it’s faster and provides many more options for font type and size. Today’s analog grid is very similar to a typewriter with its manual operation and limited options. It was designed nearly a century ago to do one thing – deliver electricity to homes and businesses. It’s a massive, dependable machine, but it provides limited information, so there are little automation and interaction. Digital technology will enable the information and control consumers to need to save energy and money. It will improve and enable the integration of more renewable energy resources while enabling more efficient and reliable electric vehicle charging. The technology will help bring the energy industry – and the resulting customer experience – into the 21st century. Think about it. In today’s digital, highly connected information world, it shouldn’t take 30 days for you to get information about how much energy you’ve used and how much it costs. By then, it’s too late to take actions to help you lower your energy bill. The digital grid will make near-real-time information available to you, which you can use to control your energy use and costs.

How do you define the smart grid?

The smart grid is a next-generation electrical power system that uses digital technologies — such as computers, secure communications networks, sensors and controls, in parallel with electric power grid operations — to enhance the grid’s reliability and overall capabilities. The smart grid extends to fuel sources for electric power production and the many devices that use electricity, such as household refrigerators, manufacturing equipment or a city park’s lighting fixtures. In particular, the secure digital technologies added to the grid and the architecture used to integrate these technologies into the infrastructure make it possible for the system to be electronically controlled and dynamically configured. This gives the grid unprecedented flexibility and functionality and self-healing capability. It can react to and minimize the impact of unforeseen events, such as power outages, so that services are more robust and always available. The smart grid also has very important features that help the planet deal with energy and environmental challenges and reduce carbon emissions. To give a few examples, a stronger and smarter grid, combined with massive storage devices, can substantially increase the integration of wind and solar energy resources into the [power] generation mix. It can support a wide-scale system for charging electric vehicles. Utilities can use its technologies to charge variable rates based on real-time fluctuations in supply and demand, and consumers can directly configure their services to minimize electricity costs.

What would a smart grid be able to do that today's not-so-smart grid can't?

Right now, if there’s a breakdown at your local substation, the utility usually finds out when customers call to complain. Placing a networked sensor inside a transformer or along wires could locate and report a problem, or prevent it from happening in the first place. Despite living in the age of information, most of us only get a glimpse of our energy consumption when the utility bills come once a month. In people’s homes, the smart grid should mean more detailed information through home energy-monitoring tools. These can be small displays or Web-based programs that give a real-time view of how much energy you’re using, which appliances consume the most, and how your home compares to others. Just surfacing that information will give people ideas on how to shave energy bills by 5 to 15 percent, utility executives say.


What’s needed to start is a smart meter with two-way communications or some other kind of gateway. Once that conduit is put in place, consumers can get more detailed energy data and start taking advantage of efficiency incentives, such as charging your plug-in electric vehicle in the middle of the night to get off-peak rates.


In theory, networked appliances are smarter and more efficient. GE and start-up display-maker Tendril, for example, will test big appliances–refrigerators, washing machines, and the like–that can get information on fluctuating electricity prices to do its job more efficiently. It could be as simple as making ice or running the dishwasher in the middle of the night. Or, as part of a home-area network, consumers could program lighting and major appliances on a schedule.


The next step toward efficiency is what’s called demand response. The goal here is to dial back energy consumption at peak times. This is very important to utilities because it’s costly and polluting to bring on auxiliary power plants to meet, say, a spike in demand from the air conditioning load on a hot summer day. Consumers and businesses have financial incentives to participate, such as a discounted rate. “Shedding load” could mean turning the gas heat off of the clothes drier for a few minutes or dimming the lights in a supermarket in the middle of the day.


A smarter grid also makes distributed energy, such as home solar systems, more viable and user-friendly. With a smart meter and monitoring software, a homeowner can see how many solar panels are producing and their carbon footprint is being reduced. A utility, too, is keenly interested in how much-distributed energy is available so it can calibrate its own daily power generation.


Is the smart grid more secure?

Given the smart grid’s fledgling status, it’s hard to provide a definitive report card. But the rush to modernize the grid has gotten some security experts raising the alarm and calling for more scrutiny. The increased use of the Internet instead of private networks for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) control systems and the bleeding together of existing corporate networks with energy providers’ control networks opens up more potential cyber-vulnerabilities, they say. Security experts are calling for security to be better baked into the standards for the smart grid and for industry professionals to use better security practices to avoid dangerous hacks.

Do smart meters pose a health risk?

No. Wireless smart meters emit radio frequency transmissions comparable to those emitted by wireless home telephones or Wi-Fi. Concerns about radio frequency and electromagnetic fields (EMF) are not supported by scientific evidence, but SECC, like the World Health Organization, invests in topical research and follows the latest studies on electromagnetic frequency. Safety is always a priority.

Will the smart grid cause blackouts to become more frequent?

No. In fact, the current electric grid is rapidly approaching its limitations, and smart grid innovation will increase grid efficiency and help meet the increasing stress of growing demand for existing, aging infrastructure. Smart grid technologies applied across the grid will contribute to fewer and shorter brownouts and blackouts

Will the smart grid make costs increase for consumers?

Researchers disagree on whether costs will increase with a transition toward the smart grid. Some studies claim that they will, whereas others argue that they will not—especially when the savings of avoided power generation are included in the calculation. Regardless, utilities and consumers will need to work with one another to develop the funding and rate strategies that reflect the needs and the resources of the communities being served.

What are the benefits of the smart grid?

The smart grid will deliver many benefits at the individual, community, and nationwide levels. The smart grid keeps your lights on, lowers energy costs, and secures America’s energy independence.

What are smart meters?

Smart meters, a common form of smart grid technology, are digital meters that replace the old analog meters used in homes to record electrical usage. Digital meters can transmit energy consumption information back to the utility on a much more frequent schedule than analog meters, which require a meter reader to transmit information.

Why does the electric grid need to be updated?

The nation’s electric grid is an interconnected network of power plants, transmission lines, substations, transformers, and other equipment that delivers electricity to homes and businesses. It was first built in the early 20th century and—despite its strong record of reliability—was not created to handle the on-demand needs of our digital economy, when even a momentary interruption of power can affect the country’s banking, communications, transportation, and security systems. While the grid continues to meet our country’s growing demand for electricity, the system’s aging infrastructure must be enhanced with digital technology.

How do smart meters differ from conventional meters?

Electricity customers traditionally have been served by mechanical meters, which record cumulative energy usage and are usually read by a utility employee once a month at the end of a billing cycle. Shortly after, a customer receives a bill for the energy consumed in the prior month. Until customers receive their bills, however, they generally have no way of knowing how much electricity they have used or the cost of their usage. Smart meters help to bridge this information and communications gap between electric companies and their customers.

How do electric companies protect the privacy of customers’ data?

Since protecting customer data is a top priority in modernizing the grid, electric companies are working with various agencies to adapt existing privacy and security standards to meet the new data requirements that accompany smart grid technology In addition, before an electric company can implement a smart meter program, it must submit to its state regulatory commission detailed plans that describe how the data security systems will protect customer data. State regulators closely monitor the privacy safeguards that are being developed for the new smart grid technology systems.

What is energy theft?

Energy theft is when a person is not paying for their gas or electricity or they are paying less than they should because their meter has been tampered or bypassed or any other illegal methods.

Why should I report energy theft?

A tampered meter is unsafe for those in the property and maybe their neighbors too. If you are aware of meter tampering it is your duty as a responsible citizen to report it.You may report to the power utility or to www.tamperfinder.com with all details.

What is the impact of energy theft?

Energy theft is perceived to be a victimless crime but by tampering with a meter, or bypassing it completely, it can have serious implications by causing damage to people and property. It also has financial implications and can increase your utility bill each year.

What are the reasons that people commit energy theft?

People steal energy to avoid paying their bills. Whatever the reason for energy theft it is illegal, unsafe and could cause serious injury or death.

What will happen when I make an anonymous report?

After you make a report, the relevant energy supplier will be notified. Each supplier has its own way of dealing with energy theft. The meter may need to be inspected by a professional and will be removed or exchanged if there is a risk to public safety.

How can I keep my family safe from energy theft?

You should check your meters and take regular readings to review your bills and consumption levels. You should not let anybody near your meter unless you have checked their identity and confirmed they are from your supplier or network operator. If you have any suspicions about any of the properties that you and your family visit often, such as a friend’s house or a café, then you should report it anonymously.

How do I know if energy theft is happening around me, at home or at work?

There may be signs to suggest that energy theft is happening around you. If you have heard people in your community saying they can save you money on your gas or electricity bills, or if your landlord doesn’t allow you to access the meter in your rented property, or if you are concerned that your boss doesn’t pay anything for their gas or electricity bills, you should report it anonymously.

What is the danger of electricity theft?

Electricity meter tampering can cause electrical fires and electrocutions

How can I spot the signs of electricity theft?

Although it can be hard to spot the signs of electricity theft, here are some things to look out for. This list is not exhaustive and if you have suspicions of anything that is not on the list below you should still always report it: The meter casing may be smashed, broken or removed completely and the cables disconnected Wires sticking out or wrapped around and connector clips attaching them to the meter Parts of the plastic casing melted or scorch and burn marks on the meter Meter shows credit has run out but electricity is still available Dials on the meter aren’t going around even when electricity is being used A smell of something burning or even smoke or sparks near the meter box

If I report a case of energy theft will I be liable for prosecution?

If you are reporting a case of energy theft and are not responsible for the crime you will not be liable for prosecution.

How Is Electricity Stolen?

Meter tampering is a common method of electrical theft. It occurs when violators physically alter the internal mechanism of their electric meters. When successful, illegal tampering causes the meter to underreport the total number of kilowatt-hours actually used. A second way electricity is stolen is when a person or small business illegally siphons energy from a line. Like meter tampering, this criminal act can lead to fire or fatal electrical shocks What is the effect of “current range” parameter on energy consumption? The current range of meter is the working range over which the meter records the energy correctly. In general, the current range of mechanical meter is much narrow than an electronic meter. If the load of the consumer is beyond the range of meter than the excess load remains unrecorded. Since the electronic meter has a wide current range so chances of consumer drawing the load beyond the permissible range are negligible and thus it records the actual power consumption. It is widely observed that consumers having decades-old mechanical meters, presently having connected load far more than sanctioned load (and thus far beyond the current range of meter) are thus paying very low electricity charges as the meter is not able to record the correct consumption. This is in spite of the fact that the meters are accurate.

What is the effect of aging of energy consumption recording?

Since the mechanical meters have moving parts, so with use these have the tendency of wear and tear resulting in low energy consumption. Same is not applicable for electronic meter as it is a static device. Meters accuracy are defined at reference conditions. However, in field voltage, Frequency and Temperature are different. What is the effect of the same? The permissible effect of field voltage, frequency, and temperature on accuracy is defined in IS/ CBIP/ IEC standards. The energy meter in India, in general, follows these standards. Although, there is an influence of the above parameters the same is not highly significant.

Can the accuracy of meter be altered infield?

All service companies prefer to buy those meters in which the accuracy of the meters cannot be altered in the field. If the meter accuracy can be altered in the field by the service company than same can be altered by the consumer also. Service companies cannot take a risk with such type of meters and thus only by the meters which are welded and cannot be altered in the field. What is the Maximum Demand Indicator (MDI)? What is its significance for the consumer? Maximum Demand Indicator is an indication of the maximum load used by the consumer for the duration of half-an-hour in the given period. This parameter is significant both for consumer and the service company to decide the sanctioned load and also to plan the network capacity. Kindly note – Exceeding the sanctioned load attracts the penalty.

What is the meaning of downloading of parameter?

Various parameters measured and recorded by the instrument are finally downloaded for billing/ monitoring purpose. The downloading of the parameter means transferring the parameters from the meter to the records of the service company. Downloading can be manual i.e. by reading the LCD display recording on a notebook or using some gadgets.

What is the meaning of MRI reading?

The gadget used for downloading of is called Meter Reading Instrument (MRI). The biggest advantage of MRI reading is that it avoids human error in recording/ transfer of data.

What is AMR system?

Downloading of the parameters using electronic gadgets which are attached to the meter without manual intervention is called Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system. The gadget attached to the meter downloads the parameter and then automatically communicate to the computer of the service company.

What is ToD Metering?

Time of Day metering (TOD), also known as Time of Usage (TOU) or Seasonal Time of Day (SToD). TOD metering involves dividing the day into different time slots ( As defined in Tariff/ regulations) There are higher tariff-rates in certain time slots (peak load period) and low tariff-rates in other time slots (off-peak load period).