T&D World Magazine

GE Energy Wins Patent to Detect Electricity Theft in Meters

GE Energy has been awarded a patent for a tamper algorithm that is designed to detect electricity theft in the most popular residential electricity meters. This patented detection algorithm will be incorporated into GE’s new single-phase residential metering platform this year.

A common form of electricity theft is to invert the meter (pull the meter out of the socket and plug the meter back in upside down, which causes the meter to run backwards and the kWh register to go down instead of up). The user leaves the meter inverted for a number of days to shave usage off of the bill and the meter is then reinstalled before a meter reading. GE and others in the industry have historically employed tamper detection tools to alert utilities that a meter is inverted.

This GE Energy-developed algorithm goes a step beyond inversion detection by looking for patterns to detect multiple types of meter tampering, including delivered energy, power outages and received energy. This means that it can detect the chain of events involved in theft taking the meter out of the socket, inverting it and plugging it back in upside down. It then alerts the utility for further investigation. Because this tool is an algorithm, there is no concern that any moving parts will fail or wear out.

The actual patent is for “systems, methods and apparatuses for detecting residential electricity theft in firmware.”

The new patent is applicable to form 2S meters, which are the most widely used of all residential meters. GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business has a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that enable intelligent grid processes, which help decision makers drive greater productivity and profitability.

GE’s meters gather a variety of data points for utilities helping them to manage intelligent grid processes. As metering technology becomes more advanced, the meter becomes a powerful diagnostic tool that can help provide better grid performance and support other utility business processes especially service delivery and customer service.

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