Real-time power theft monitoring and detection system with double connected data capture system

Celimpilo Lindani Zulu, Oliver Dzobo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Power utilities worldwide are facing enormous challenges when it comes to the distribution of electricity. With these challenges, electricity theft is regarded as the most common challenge in the electrical distribution system. Electricity theft can be meter tampering done in consumer houses and illegal connections done using hook-ups from the distribution pole grids. These electricity theft challenges have caused power utilities to reconsider customer engagements focusing on feedback, putting loss detection systems in their distribution system networks, using artificial intelligence to schedule maintenance and other asset management activities, etc. The main focus of this paper is to design a real-time power theft monitoring and detection system that is able to detect power theft in distribution systems. This proposed system utilizes smart meters consisting of an Arduino ATMega328P microcontrollers with GSM modules (Global System for Mobile Communication) used for system communication. Cloud storage is created to store the smart meter data. Simulations of the proposed system were done using Proteus Design Suite v.8.10 SP3 software. The proposed system is practically constructed for prototype measurement results. Should power imbalances be measured by the system, the authority office will receive an SMS notification as an alert for power theft detected by a specific smart metering system. The authority office will analyse the power measurements sent to the cloud storage (MATLAB Online, ThingSpeak IoT channels display), and further action will be taken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3065-3083
Number of pages19
JournalElectrical Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Arduino ATMega328P microcontroller
  • Cloud storage (MATLAB, ThingSpeak IoT)
  • Electricity theft
  • Illegal connections
  • Meter tampering
  • Smart meter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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