Hioki USA Corporation

Electricity Theft: The crime that nobody talks about

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Courtesy of Hioki USA Corporation

Electricity theft is often an “invisible” crime. Someone illegally taps into a power supply, hooks up a line that has been disconnected, or tampers with a meter to avoid recording electricity usage. For example, some people will reverse their meters so they run backwards, others with crack the meter seal open and place mechanical brakes to slow the meter wheel down. Indeed, many people will even go further, to the extent of placing jumper cables on high voltage lines and exposing the cables – and themselves- to lethal levels of electrical power. The temptation to save money is high, and so is the risk.

While more utilities are using analytics to identify electricity theft, the practice is not yet widespread because the IT infrastructure required to oversee the generation, supply and

consumption of electricity data is not there. With most utility companies subject to government oversight, it is also difficult for utility companies to invest in these information systems unless the funding is procured through highly unpopular rate hikes.

With this scenario as the backdrop, what are the small steps that utility companies may undertake to detect and prevent electricity theft? Enter HIOKI’s CM3286-01 Bluetooth enabled AC/DC Clamp Meter

The CM3286 is ideal for verifying electricity theft since it can measure both AC power and current.

The instrument’s electricity theft detection-and-report function can be used to quickly and easily make measurements and generate reports wirelessly:

Simply follow the measurement procedure to take measurements and photographs at four locations and the instrument will automatically generate a report, complete with photos. Since the report is generated automatically in the field based on captured measurement data, it’s impossible for others to alter the data.



  • METER TAMPERING: Detect theft  by comparing electric meter readings and measurements
  • DIRECT THEFT: Detect theft by measuring current leakage
    • Accurately measure power from 5 W at a current as low as 60 mA to 360 kW at a maximum of 600 A (single-phase power measurement).
    • In addition to current, voltage, and power, measure simple integral power consumption and phase sequence.
    • Obtain accurate readings with true RMS measurement

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