non-technical losses

The distribution of electricity implies a certain amount of loss of power that could be classified into technical and non-technical losses (NTL), with the latter form usually associated with illegal connections or frauds resulting in absence of consumption drops.

The sector is constantly looking for new approaches to tackle this as the traditional reliance on proprietary data from distribution companies and the need for manual inspections of meters and connections to identify and resolve those phenomena has proved to be a challenge.

Read more: Is it possible to achieve zero non-technical losses?

Enel Foundation has brought together experts from Enel’s Global Infrastructure and Networks division, who manages electricity distribution to more than 73 million end users all over the world, with scientists from the MIT Senseable City Lab to propose a new method to detect NTL.

The innovative proposal explores the potential of combining fine-grained smart meter consumption data with cellular phone data records to increase effectiveness of NTL detection.

The paper has been presented at CIRED 2019, the most important International Conference on Electricity Distribution sector, which gathered close to 1,500 participants in Madrid from 3-6 June. This conference serves as a Forum for the electricity distribution community to meet, every two years, and discuss innovative developments with a worldwide perspective and participation.

Detecting non-technical network losses

Enel Foundation’s proposed methodology leverages on digitalisation, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to suggest more effective ways of detecting non-technical network losses.

It also proposes, a new way of combining energy and human activity data to narrow down significantly the areas where current, and expensive, NTL enquiry methods are applied.

The next step in the research will be the validation of the proposed methodology with real data sets by means of a concrete application.

The application of data sets different from those usually available in electricity distribution companies is a promising field where new data science expertise can provide meaningful results in areas such as forecast of electricity demand or security of the system.

As the role of digital electricity distribution infrastructure is crucial for the energy transition, Enel Foundation is proud to join the scientific debate at CIRED covering also topics such as smart grids and active distribution networks, electric vehicles, storage, active demand and distributed energy resources integration, present and future customer quality of supply requirements, and optimum asset utilisation techniques and strategies.