New system for detection of electricity fraud under development in Brazil


Curitiba, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — October 27, 2008 – The Institute of Technology for Development (Instituto de Tecnologia para o Desenvolvimento, Lactec) and the Energy Company of Maranhão (Companhia de Energia do Maranhão, Cemar) are collaborating to develop a new system to reduce the commercial losses of electricity distributors in urban and rural communities.

Researchers from Lactec’s department of electro-electronics are testing a prototype of a distribution transformer with integrated metering, which can lead to the identification and elimination of “gatos” (“cats” or illegal connections), as they are known in Brazil.

The technology enables the measurement of the total consumption in the low voltage network at each connection point. As it is installed together with the distribution transformer, it is impossible for the consumer to access the meter.

With the technology Cemar is able to calculate the monthly consumption of electricity for all its customers and compare this with the value recorded over the same period by the meter integrated in the distribution transformer. In addition, the equipment includes a short range digital communication device, which can send the data directly to a mobile phone, thereby facilitating the work of the meter readers.

“This project will bring direct benefits to Cemar and could serve as a model for other energy companies in Brazil,” says Luiz Malucelli Neto, chief superintendent of Lactec.

The research and development process has a two-year duration. In terms of the partnership, Lactec is also responsible for attracting the collaboration of manufacturers of distribution transformers in order to facilitate the construction of prototype devices.