This post is about the solutions implemented at BC Hydro to help reduce losses due to power theft, and describes the results. To get an overview of the issues they were facing, and to learn more about BC Hydro, start by reading part one.
With BC Hydro suffering from losses of over 850GWh per year, and the problem growing each year, they created a proactive revenue assurance program to put a stop to the theft. Using Awesense's TGI solution, along with smart meters, and SCADA devices, BC Hydro began to take a proper inventory of their energy. TGI analytics provided energy balances across their grid every night, revealing where energy was going missing.
In-grid sensors (as part of the TGI Methodology) were deployed over the entire medium-voltage distribution grid. That's over 10,000 grid segments, monitored by more than 4000 permanent TGI Raptor 3 devices. Relays, re-closers and switches (aka SCADA devices) also fed data back to TGI.
Using this wealth of information, TGI was able to detect segments with higher than expected losses. More sensors were deployed to those areas, homing on the areas of highest losses.
When theft was confirmed, a case could be built using the data collected, and revenue recovery operations could proceed. BC Hydro's main goal was that all consumers pay their bills and stop stealing power. By enforcing payment and reducing theft, BC Hydro was improving safety for their workers and for the public, and improving grid efficiency and stability.
After 3 years of operating their revenue assurance program, BC Hydro reduced losses by 50%; after 5 years of operations, loss reduction surpassed their original goal and reached 80%. The ability to successfully identify missing electrons and locate the leaks in the system, plus the ability to gather indisputable proof led to a consistent drop in consumers stealing power.
The in-grid data and intelligence gathered was also shared with other departments within BC Hydro to improve the efficiency of their distribution grid:
- 24,000 GIS errors identified and corrected in the field;
- Technical loss reduction (phase balancing, transformer sizing, system design etc.);
- Public safety improved through inspections and maintenance;
- Distribution engineers and planners used in-grid data for reliable and timely load data on localized areas of the distribution system.