PowerTheft

For technical discussions about electricity, electrical equipment with particular emphasis on safe and compliant installations.
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cubes
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Post by cubes »

adam2 wrote:
cubes wrote:With even smarter meters (or consumer units), certain loads in the house could be shed, such as the tv, while, say, the lights stay on.
Most unlikely IMHO due to the costs and complications.
How do you keep say the fridge on, and turn the TV off, when both are powered from standard 13 amp sockets.

Even if all power outlets were turned of, it would be simple to plug the TV into a lampholder as used to be done back in the day !
Well, yes, it may need more that just a consumer unit to do properly, possibly smart plug sockets signalled from the consumer unit. Too expensive and difficult for most people I expect. Was just an idea! :)
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RenewableCandy
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Post by RenewableCandy »

All of these proposed schemes seem to have one weak point: the need to suddenly manufacture over 20 million little electronic gizmos. And, in my experience, a given little electronic gizmo's natural life is, not long, so they'll have to keep on being manufactured.

Oh well I suppose that's "good for jobs" :roll:
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Haven't you heard that we are facing thee internet of things? All gadgets will have built in wireless internet access in a few years. Hardware costs are negligible. IP v6 give us billions of new addresses. We will be in a fully internet connected world. No escape, especially from the NSA/gchq . they will know when your alarm clock goes off, and will reprogramme it to make sure you miss that appointment if they really want to.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Ar least it will be solar powered: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/0 ... nvestment/
Google Buys Power From Four Swedish Windfarms In Bid To Be Fueled By 100 Percent Renewable Energy
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

BritDownUnder wrote:--------Last week I was reading about earth leakage meters that are used in Residual current devices that are meant to save you from a shock. Turns out they were not initially developed for saving lives but for saving the utilities money because people in the 40s and 50s used to get 'free' power by driving a stake into earth, or just using the earth from a metal pipe to get their power from a live to earth connection that the older meters did not pick up.
This would not have worked with a UK supply, single phase, 240 volts with an earthed neutral. The electricity meter measures the current in the live wire, it does not "know" if this metered current is returned via the neutral or via say an earthed water pipe. No advantage would be gained by connecting a load between live and earth.

However elswhere, other systems existed and in some cases gave an opportunity for theft.
Parts of mainland Europe used a 3 phase,4 wire system at 127/220 volts, 127 volts beteen any phase and neutral, and 220 volts between any 2 phases.
Customers requiring 220 volt service were connected between any 2 phases, but the meter was a standard type that measured the current in only 1 wire. The customer could therefore obtain "free" electricity by connecting a load between the unmetered supply wire and an earthed water pipe. This stolen supply would be at the reduced voltage of 127 volts. Sales of 120 volt lamps were said to be substantial in such areas !

If however an RCD was fitted, then this would trip if a load was connected between one phase and earth.

A few such supplies probably still exist, but would be fitted with a meter that records the current in EACH live wire, thereby avoiding any theft by connections between one phase and earth.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

biffvernon wrote:It looks as though the whole smart meter thing is going to be leap-frogged by Google Nest: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/up-to-ap ... xqbMA.html
Did they deliberately pick an interview location that included solar pv in the background? :lol:

To me, this 'internet of things' (where even the names get complex) is another step on this road to 'efficiency' - i.e., specialisation and over-reliance, the opposite of resilience. It's a bigger, thinner pile of stuff which has to topple at some point.

The power was out yesterday for three hours while I was doing some woodwork. I finished the job, cleaned up and sat down with a cuppa and a book. :wink: How would that work out in a world of internet things?
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adam2
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by adam2 »

Abstraction* of electricity continues to be a growing problem, and may be becoming more widespread.
There are various techniques whereby the electrity meter or the cables thereto may be tampered with, in order to abstract electricity.

However in recent years a new form of dishonesty has become increasingly popular. Organised criminal gangs, with a suitably liveried van, are digging up the road, making a new connection to the mains , and running a new service cable into premises to obtain free electricity.
No amount of inspection of the existing service cable and electricity meter will detect this type of dishonesty since these have not been tampered with.
This seems to be popular in small businesess and it is surprisingly hard to prosecute the offenders. Those who made the new illegal connection are long gone. Those receiving the stolen electricity generally claim innocence. "I thought it was included in the rent" or "I receive several bills for different parts of my premises, and had no idea that one area was un metered"

In most cases all that can be done is to dissconnect the illegal supply, and keep a close eye on the premises in case they try again.

*Abstraction is the prefered legal term when that which is stolen is not a physical article that can be produced in court as evidence. If a thief steals a bottle of drink, then this bottle can be produced as evidence in the court. Stolen electricity can not be produced as evidence.
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BritDownUnder
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by BritDownUnder »

I have not heard of people digging up the road in Australia to get the power but there is an interesting instance in this YouTube video from a popular Australian current affairs program - rather conveniently named "A Current Affair". No pun intended!
This was theft from one apartment to another by means of some dodgy wiring behind the meter. I have heard of cases of one house stealing power from another if an external socket is too close to the neighbouring property and they have wired into it. The shocked fake innocence of the neighbour is quite funny. A bit like the "I know nothing" character on that 1960s TV show.
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PS_RalphW
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by PS_RalphW »

It is very common even in new build blocks of flats for the power metres to be allocated to the wrong flat, so you end up paying for your neighbour's consumption, or even multiple neighbours.

On a similar theme, an old friend who went through a long process to get a land line (and broadband) access installed to is old dove cote home (requiring a new telegraph pole to be installed, only for it to be demolished by a passing car a week later) , has just cancelled it again because his neighbour who has knocked down a bungalow to build a huge mcmansion has just installed (according to my friend) an illegal tap into the new telegraph pole and he didn't want to be paying his neighbour's bills or be accused of being in on the deal. Not sure how true the illegal tap is.
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BritDownUnder
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by BritDownUnder »

I am no expert of technology but I thought it was difficult to get a hookup to telephones, particularly fibre, as they need a dedicated 'card' in the exchange or are you talking about power still?

Connecting to power lines while they are still live must be difficult but possible, at low voltages anyway, for the brave person.
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adam2
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by adam2 »

Stealing telephone service is hard because a number has to be allocated as well as making the physical connection.

Making connections to live power cables is routine for utility staff or subcontractors, and I suspect that most illegal connections are made by serving or ex staff.
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Mark
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by Mark »

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Potemkin Villager
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Re: PowerTheft

Post by Potemkin Villager »

You would wonder at some of the stories.

https://www.stayenergysafe.co.uk/storie ... ed-shower/

Very sad but the article does not explain how bypassing the meter lead to the fatality
which seems related to the poor domestic wiring and lack of earth on the shower unit!
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