Thieves don’t just steal money – they get away with just about anything and everything that they think has value to them (or someone else), and when it comes to energy, this is not exempt, too. Whenever you drop by developing countries, especially in the slum areas, do take special notice of the tangled mess that are electric wires which deliver power to shanties – this is most probably a theft in progress; stealing energy, that is.
Understood, the majority of poor people cannot afford to pay for their electricity, and will need to tap into the grid in an illegal manner so that their TVs, lights and fans are able to get enough juice to help provide them with some little luxury in a harsh existence. Apart from that, there is another group of thieves who by all means probably steal more than the poor folks – that includes large residential, commercial, and industrial consumers who tend to collude with meter readers.
Hence the introduction of smart meters that might just prevent such things from happening on a wide scale in the future, using automated, two-way equipment which can monitor and detect unusual activity, including meter bypassing, all the way from remote locations. Since smart meters does away with the crucial contact point of an utility employee and the resident, it will get a whole lot harder to find more sophisticated ways of siphoning juice off the grid illegally. If only governments make it mandatory for smart meters to be installed everywhere – imagine how much more revenue power companies can make to (hopefully) invest in a greener and more sustainable future for us.