Patent to detect electricity theft awarded


GE EnergyAtlanta, GA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 6, 2007 – GE Energy, a supplier of power generation and energy delivery technologies, has been awarded a patent for a tamper algorithm that is designed to detect electricity theft in its range of residential electricity meters. The 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 it back in upside down, which causes it 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 the bill, and the meter is then reinstalled correctly before a meter reading. GE and others in the industry have historically employed tamper detection tools to alert utilities to the fact 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 taking the meter out of the socket, inverting it and plugging it back in upside down. It then alerts the utility to the need 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."

"This patent recognizes one of the innovative developments coming out of our metering business," said Bob Gilligan, general manager of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business. "We are proud to have received this acknowledgment of our unique technology."

The new patent is applicable to form 2S meters.