Conference: African Utility Week
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Presenter: Sidnei Ueda
Abstract: Presented by Sidnei Ueda at African Utility Week
The electricity robbery issue is one of the main concerns of the Brazilian power utilities: just the São Paulo city Distribution Utility had a loss of around US$ 180 million with irregular consumer connections annually, during 2004/2005. There are also many other Utilities facing a similar problem in Brazil and in South America countries.
The most common way of energy robbery is using metallic claws, biting the phase and the neutral conductors, allowing the use of electricity without passing through the energy meter.
Some years ago, a new cable was installed in order to avoid the electricity robbery. This cable, called anti-robbery, is so constructed that the use of the claws is not possible anymore. Its neutral conductor surrounding the phase like a wire armouring that does not allow any contact with the central phase conductor without touching this concentric neutral conductor. If so, a short circuit occurs.
a) Product development
Some different designs have developed, like as bi and tri-concentric cable, 2 or 3 phases configuration as well. Another important development was the changing the Copper conductor to the Aluminum one. The objective is the cost down and also because the Aluminum is less attractive than Copper to robberies. But, in this case an appropriated connector had been developed to assure a suitable electrical connection.
b) Social program
The installation of anti-robbery cable can be a technical and / or economical solution. However, behind this simply matter there is also a social problem. The slums and low income community living a completely different reality. The pilot program implement at Paraisopolis slum in Sao Paulo may be a suitable solution equalizing the electrification in those areas and avoiding power losses for utilities. Besides the technical aspects, the education and social program were included that bring important and feasible results.