IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Electricity theft: Overview, issues, prevention and a smart meter based approach to control theft


  • Depuru, Soma Shekara Sreenadh Reddy
  • Wang, Lingfeng
  • Devabhaktuni, Vijay


Non-technical loss (NTL) during transmission of electrical energy is a major problem in developing countries and it has been very difficult for the utility companies to detect and fight the people responsible for theft. Electricity theft forms a major chunk of NTL. These losses affect quality of supply, increase load on the generating station, and affect tariff imposed on genuine customers. This paper discusses the factors that influence the consumers to steal electricity. In view of these ill effects, various methods for detection and estimation of the theft are discussed. This paper proposes an architectural design of smart meter, external control station, harmonic generator, and filter circuit. Motivation of this work is to deject illegal consumers, and conserve and effectively utilize energy. As well, smart meters are designed to provide data of various parameters related to instantaneous power consumption. NTL in the distribution feeder is computed by external control station from the sending end information of the distribution feeder. If a considerable amount of NTL is detected, harmonic generator is operated at that feeder for introducing additional harmonic component for destroying appliances of the illegal consumers. For illustration, cost-benefit analysis for implementation of the proposed system in India is presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Depuru, Soma Shekara Sreenadh Reddy & Wang, Lingfeng & Devabhaktuni, Vijay, 2011. "Electricity theft: Overview, issues, prevention and a smart meter based approach to control theft," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 1007-1015, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:1007-1015

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. T. S. Li & C. H. Lee & M. F. Lin, 2007. "Electron transport in double-walled carbon nanotubes," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 60(1), pages 45-50, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Parikh, Priti & Chaturvedi, Sankalp & George, Gerard, 2012. "Empowering change: The effects of energy provision on individual aspirations in slum communities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 477-485.
    2. Sivarasu, S.R. & Chandira Sekaran, E. & Karthik, P., 2015. "Development of renewable energy based microgrid project implementations for residential consumers in India: Scope, challenges and possibilities," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 256-269.
    3. El Hage, Fabio S. & Rufín, Carlos, 2016. "Context analysis for a new regulatory model for electric utilities in Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 145-154.
    4. Mah, Daphne Ngar-yin & van der Vleuten, Johannes Marinus & Hills, Peter & Tao, Julia, 2012. "Consumer perceptions of smart grid development: Results of a Hong Kong survey and policy implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 204-216.
    5. Römer, Benedikt & Reichhart, Philipp & Kranz, Johann & Picot, Arnold, 2012. "The role of smart metering and decentralized electricity storage for smart grids: The importance of positive externalities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 486-495.
    6. Costa-Campi, Maria Teresa & Daví-Arderius, Daniel & Trujillo-Baute, Elisa, 2018. "The economic impact of electricity losses," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 309-322.
    7. McKenna, Eoghan & Richardson, Ian & Thomson, Murray, 2012. "Smart meter data: Balancing consumer privacy concerns with legitimate applications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 807-814.
    8. Yakubu, Osman & Babu C., Narendra & Adjei, Osei, 2018. "Electricity theft: Analysis of the underlying contributory factors in Ghana," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 611-618.
    9. Jamil, Faisal, 2018. "Electricity theft among residential consumers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 147-154.
    10. Markard, Jochen & Erlinghagen, Sabine, 2017. "Technology users and standardization: Game changing strategies in the field of smart meter technology," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 226-235.
    11. Ahmad, Tanveer, 2017. "Non-technical loss analysis and prevention using smart meters," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 573-589.
    12. Yurtseven, Çağlar, 2015. "The causes of electricity theft: An econometric analysis of the case of Turkey," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 70-78.
    13. Pless, Jacquelyn & Fell, Harrison, 2017. "Bribes, bureaucracies, and blackouts: Towards understanding how corruption at the firm level impacts electricity reliability," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 36-55.
    14. Aklin, Michaël & Bayer, Patrick & Harish, S.P. & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2015. "Quantifying slum electrification in India and explaining local variation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 203-212.
    15. Shahzad, Khuram & Bajwa, Sami Ullah & Ansted, Ronda B. & Mamoon, Dawood & Khaliq-ur-Rehman,, 2016. "Evaluating human resource management capacity for effective implementation of advanced metering infrastructure by electricity distribution companies in Pakistan," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 107-117.
    16. Ahmad, Tanveer & Chen, Huanxin & Wang, Jiangyu & Guo, Yabin, 2018. "Review of various modeling techniques for the detection of electricity theft in smart grid environment," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 82(P3), pages 2916-2933.
    17. Viegas, Joaquim L. & Esteves, Paulo R. & Melício, R. & Mendes, V.M.F. & Vieira, Susana M., 2017. "Solutions for detection of non-technical losses in the electricity grid: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1256-1268.
    18. Never, Babette, 2015. "Social norms, trust and control of power theft in Uganda: Does bulk metering work for MSEs?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 197-206.
    19. Erlinghagen, Sabine & Lichtensteiger, Bill & Markard, Jochen, 2015. "Smart meter communication standards in Europe – a comparison," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1249-1262.
    20. Rains, Emily & Abraham, Ronald J., 2018. "Rethinking barriers to electrification: Does government collection failure stunt public service provision?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 288-300.
    21. Duncan Chaplin & Delia Welsh & Arif Mamun & Nick Ingwersen & Kristine Bos & Erin Crossett & Poonam Ravindranath & Dara Bernstein & William Derbyshire, "undated". "Ghana Power Compact: Evaluation Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 8c1896c6f9af45f08347287c1, Mathematica Policy Research.
    22. Chicco, Gianfranco, 2012. "Overview and performance assessment of the clustering methods for electrical load pattern grouping," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 68-80.
    23. Jamil, Faisal, 2013. "On the electricity shortage, price and electricity theft nexus," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 267-272.
    24. Kumar V., Sampath & Prasad, Jagdish & Samikannu, Ravi, 2017. "Overview, issues and prevention of energy theft in smart grids and virtual power plants in Indian context," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 365-374.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:1007-1015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.