Increasing illegal consumption is a stringent issue for Hungarian electricity distribution companies. The current difficult economic downturn has been a factor in consumers using illegal connections to get electricity “for free”, causing important losses to Distribution System Operators (DSOs). Stealing electricity is as simple as throwing a cable on a bare mains wire. With legacy electromechanical meters installed at consumer premises, the utility would not know the location of the illegal connection, so dishonest behaviour can go on undetected indefinitely.
E.ON Hungary decided to curb illegal electricity consumption and started a pilot project to test new methods for decreasing the theft rate. To ensure a lasting effect of its measures, E.ON designed a comprehensive strategy: technical means to protect distribution infrastructure and eliminate tampering attempts coupled with educational programmes aimed at persuading residents to consume electricity responsibly and legally, thus solving the root of the phenomenon.