This Toolkit is intended to provide information for use by USAID staff working on energy matters, utility managers, and by other stakeholders involved in designing interventions to improve anti-theft utility operations in challenging neighborhoods. The toolkit provides a convenient reference with links to technologies and instruments that have been used successfully by six utilities. The Toolkit is not intended as a “how to” manual, nor to establish “models” to be replicated; rather, it is an informational tool to facilitate discussion on theft reduction options.
Developing countries often have areas and customer segments that experience high levels of electricity theft. In seeking to reduce their non-technical/commercial losses, electric utilities are experimenting with different technological options for preventing theft, reducing bad debt, and improving their operational efficiency. Most of these technical solutions have been tested and scaled-up in difficult-to-serve areas where theft is rampant, a culture of non-payment is endemic, utility staff face physical assault and/or the difficult physical conditions impede the installation of traditional distribution networks.
Some utilities have applied new technologies that allow remote meter reading and disconnection, limit consumption, deter theft, or allow pre-payment. This Toolkit represents a comprehensive study of technological solutions applied by six utilities from different geographic locations with descriptions of technologies applied by those utilities to cope with electricity theft.
The Toolkit contains a brief description of the technologies, how they work, the results achieved by utilities, and their pros and cons. A comprehensive set of modules describe the electric utility business and the impacts of electricity theft, define theft and where it occurs most often, provide detailed descriptions of types of technologies, and offer brief summaries of case studies and lessons learned. The supporting individual Case Studies, sections of Technology Overview and Resources, that include all references sourced in the modules, Case Studies and Technology Overviews, are the essential components of the Toolkit.