AMI and Revenue Protection - Life Before and After

AMI and Revenue Protection - Life Before and After

Struggling to Pull the Plug on Energy Theft with AMR Technology Presented By: Clayton Dean Tampa Electric Company Some Things Never Change Someone once said If it has any value someone will attempt to

steal it. Electricity is NOT exempt from this theory and the problem is not something new for utilities. As early as 1899, the Edison Illuminating Companies dealt with the problem of tampering with screws that adjusted meter damping magnets.

What is Tampering? Energy theft involves interfering with the true and accurate registration of an electric revenue meter. 1. Actual meter tampering to avoid proper registration of power consumption. 2. Meter diversion bypassing energy around the meter to avoid registration of actual consumption.

Impact of Tampering to Utilities Estimates vary across the industry on the actual cost of theft Normal estimates range from 2-4% of retail revenues Estimated losses between $4-6 billion dollars annually Conservative estimates since energy theft is

mostly out of sight and unfortunately out of mind Life Before AMR Before AMR deployment we did things the old-fashioned way to identify tampering. Meter Readers and Field Employees provided leads for tampering cases (Nearly 6,000 reported tampering issues annually) Broken Meter Seal Reports

Suspected Current Diversion Reports Low Consumption Reports Anonymous Tips Area sweeps by Revenue Protection Employees Inspect and Reseal Activity Opening the Door to Tampering No meter readers mean no more eyes in the

field Who will notice the problem? Jumpers in meter sockets Unsealed metering equipment Mechanical tampering (TAPS)

Investigation Challenges Tampering investigations are impacted by the same obstacles that created problems for our meter readers. Accessing the meter (locked gates, dogs, detection of employees) Customers become suspicious of field visits Tampering NOT usually a Monday-Friday 8:00 AM 5:00 PM event

Field employees cases referrals provided us with nearly 90% of our case activity Tamper Flags Now What? AMR technology arrived without the playbook on how to address the detection of tampering and the large volume of tamper flags associated with the technology. Volume of tamper flags immediately unmanageable Challenge of filtering tamper codes against work orders,

outages, and multiple systems that generate meter work Needed technology to manage tampering data Field employee case referrals down 85% from 2008 to 2012 Nearly 80% of field checks using tamper code reports were invalid New Methods of Tampering Mechanical manipulation still a problem Jumpers behind meter to reduce use

Unplugging ERTs for part of the month Inner seal broken to gain access to meter components Intermittent bypass being engaged Unauthorized demand resets AMR Tampering Examples With AMR technology we initially focused on the obvious

issues (multiple tamper codes) and found immediate success. Example of an account with 6 consecutive months of tamper flags. Premise view of meter and meter can at service address Electronic check (handheld collector) could not communicate

with assigned meter AMR Tampering Examples Customer utilizing a stolen meter between scheduled meter reading dates to reduce monthly account consumption.

AMR Tampering Examples Meter can latch has a disguised cut to allow seal to be removed without cutting the meter seal. AMR Tampering Examples

The customer was hiding a marijuana cultivation operation. Normal marijuana operations utilize an illegal tap, but this customer was keeping it simple and taking out

the meter between meter read dates. AMR Tampering Examples We recovered our correct meter in a dryer located behind the home.

AMR Tampering Examples Not all tampering was as obvious as multiple tampering flags. As our understanding of the AMR technology improved, we found it only takes ONE tamper flag for the damage to be done.

Example of an overhead tap on an inactive account. AMR Tampering Examples Homemade connection of overhead tap. AMR Tampering Examples Wires feeding from tap

into premise breaker panel. AMR Tampering Examples Tap feeding into hole at weather head. AMR Tampering Examples Correct meter assigned

to premise reading the same monthly read for 13 months. Only ONE tamper flag registered to allow tampering to occur. AMR Tampering Examples More examples of

accounts that only recorded ONE tamper flag to facilitate theft. Using jumpers behind meter to reduce monthly consumption or to avoid registration of all use.

Jumpers Continued Jumpers Continued ERT Tampering While most tampering issues are fairly common with jumpers and stolen meters, we knew it was only a matter of

time before they found a way to disable the meter. Removing or disconnecting the contacts (ERT) inside the meter will result in a blank screen condition and the appearance of a damaged meter. ERT Tampering

Continued view of disconnected ERT. Lessons Learned Make sure Revenue Protection is involved in AMR/AMI project. Understand conflicting priorities for Meter Engineering and Revenue Protection. Prioritize Revenue Protection as an asset and

not an inconvenience to the project. Understand the technology available to identify tampering. Improved Technology with AMI A wealth of new information now available. Improved education on tampering specific issues. Load profile info can show usage drop-offs. Intermittent bypass being engaged

Low/no use during business hours? Event logs track dozens of event types. Unreported outages Unauthorized demand resets Load profile data more robust to identify tampering such as jumpers

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