Power Theft

Smart meter :A Solution to Control Power Theft in India?

Electricity has become the priority for every organization and individual due to the emerging developments and growing demands in all sectors. The essential process of a power supply includes power generation, power distribution, and power transmission to different destinations. Few technical faults and losses may occur due to power dissipation by some devices. These faults and losses can be minimized using the fast developing technology. However, there are other kinds of losses which are caused deliberately by humans for the sake of illegal access to the power distribution. This is nothing but power theft.
Due to huge power theft, India is losing billion of rupees because of unbilled consumption and illegal power usages. If you add all the unpaid bills to this loss, then the electricity distribution companies and boards will be in a huge loss. The recent estimates say that only half of the revenue is realized. As per a world bank’s report, there are two components of losses which are technical and non-technical. Technical losses are mainly because of power supply dissipation due to faulty transmission and distribution lines, measurement systems and transformers.
Here are other power losses which incurred as a result of actions that are outside the control of the power supply like errors in accounting and record keeping. Power theft losses also called commercial and non-commercial losses, which are very difficult to estimate but run into huge amounts. Brazil and India rank high on the list of the huge power loss. Countries like U.K and U.S also experience such losses but there are not as significant. The Indian government also experience huge power thieves across domestic, commercial and industrial establishments, large cities, and rural areas.
Whatever the type of loss is, there should be a proper process to avoid these unlawful activities so that most of the power loss will be saved.
To avoid such activities and to save the power, the government of India has introduced smart meters in all the sectors, and in some parts of India. These smart meters have become extremely relevant in saving the power and giving the exact bill. Now, let us understand what smart meter all about is; this smart meter is used to measure the usage of electricity and need to tenuously switch the customer’s power supply off or individual appliances based on the demand response. It can remotely control electricity consumption and maximize the energy efficiency and load balancing​.
A smart meter consists of two units: a metering device and a display unit.
  • A Metering Device: This will be in the custody of the distribution or utility company.
  • A display Unit: This will be at the consumer’s place.

Benefits of Smart Meter:

  • The smart meters that are deployed in India are capable of one-way communication as they have enhanced features and cost-effective.
  • Smart meters are good for the distribution firms, as they can detect unusual and heavy demand powers, which may point to a tapping of wires. This is particularly applicable in certain parts of India where little theft of power is out of control and detecting it manually is difficult.

How Smart Meter Can Help Control Power Thefts:

  • Using Smart meters you can shut off the services of households and commercial establishments which don’t pay their bills.
  • Early indications from deployments globally indicate that putting monitoring systems in place can prevent the power loss caused due to electricity theft.
  • Smart meter help to control the lower power consumption and consumers who use ‘free’ power can cut the usage and resort to using the power only as much as they can pay legally.

One of the strongest reasons to start smart meter in India is to prevent the power theft which is legally or illegally very huge. The other compelling factors such as technical power losses, peak power shortfalls and bringing well-organized transmission of electricity to reward the consumers who help in reducing peak power also demand smart meter.

At present, governments in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, New Delhi, and Puducherry have initiated the process of installing smart meters. Hope it spread all over India to control the power thefts.[Courtesy: usharama college of engineering and technology]

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