Theft or pilferage of power by the existing customers, Electrical Engineering

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Theft or Pilferage of Power by the Existing Customers

Power theft through the existing consumers is the predominant cause of loss of revenue to the electrical utilities. Almost all categories of consumers are includes in this. It is almost the single cause of all ailments afflicting power utilities. Transformer failures, poor collection of revenue, breakdowns,  financial losses, widespread customer dissatisfaction, recurring crises in summer crop period, poor creditworthiness resulting in the inability to raise funds required for the required growth, increased technical losses and the corroded integrity of employees are all manifestations of power theft. Theft of power is being committed through

1. Totally bypassing the meter

The meter is not tampered. The tapping is made from the supply lines and part or full load is fed from that.

This kind of power theft can be proved only when it is observed at the time of inspection. The consumer can erase all traces of theft if the inspection is known in advance. This is a burning problem in many parts of our country.

2. Tampering the meter

There are numerous methods of tampering the meter. New methods are being constantly evolved and detection of tampering is becoming a major challenge for distribution utilities. Some of them are given below.

Methods Used for Meter Tampering

  • Spiders - small holes are drilled into the meters and live spiders or spiders' eggs crammed into them. The spiders' webs slow down the metering mechanism, giving a false reading.
  • Needles - pins are inserted into a hole, slowing down the meter's recording wheel to give a flash reading or even a zero usage.
  • Magnets - small magnets attached to the outside of the meter casing will stop the meter from registering, or slow it down.
  • Chewing gum - gum is often used to stop the meter completely but it is taken out just before the meter reading is taken.
  • Bypass - meters are removed and power sourced illegally from underground cables and overhead wires.

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