Impact Hub Manila Fellowship

ITSMYELECTRIC.ORG: Stopping electricity theft... one report at a time

by
Jose Escay
Jose Escay | Jul 23, 2016 | in Sustainable Energy Solutions

Each year, P16 billion worth of electricity is stolen and paid for by well-paying consumers.  At the macro level, the amount of electricity pilferage is equivalent to operating a 300 MW power generating plant.  According to a multilateral organization, if apprehended, up to 50% of this demand can be reduced if users have to pay for that electricity.   Thus, an investment of P14 billion in additional plant capacity could be avoided, let alone the savings in fuel and operating costs.

Who faces this problem?

This means that an average household pays over P1,000 per year for the electricity that is illegally consumed by someone else.  Every year, this amount could have been spent on:

  • 162 cups of instant noodles
  • 122 liters of bottled drinking water
  • 85 cans of sardines
  • 38 kilos of rice

How does your idea address this problem?

In 2012, GLI piloted ITSMYELECTRIC.ORG, an anonymous power theft reporting system, online and via SMS text, in an electric cooperative.  Within one year, with minimal promotion, the system generated more than 1,000 reports and recovered 104,088 kWh of unbilled electricity (computed as per methodology established by the Energy Regulatory Commission).

What’s new and unique about your idea?

To curtail power pilferage, electricity distribution utilities (DUs) have used various technical solutions but success is limited.  These include Elevated Meter Centers (EMCs), 20,000 Volt rings on EMC posts, and in other countries, the use of smart meters.

As concluded by Ajay Dhagat, CEO of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (India) in his presentation entitled “Containing Power Theft & Enforcement Mechanisms – BRPL”:

  • Technology can only help to control theft.
  • The more the technology, the more advanced are the theft techniques.
  • The only way to eradicate theft is by social awareness and the society as a whole taking the responsibility for containing theft.

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How are you going to earn money?

ITSMYELECTRIC.ORG is a subscription service that will help DUs to save on power costs and at the same time enable it to earn from the penalties charged to erring customers (Republic Act 7832).  In essence, we will take a minimal share from the earnings - a WIN-WIN!

Do you already have customers?

In 2012, GLI piloted ITSMYELECTRIC.ORG, an anonymous power theft reporting system, online and via SMS text, in an electric cooperative.  Within one year, with minimal promotion, the system generated more than 1,000 reports and recovered 104,088 kWh of unbilled electricity (computed as per methodology established by the Energy Regulatory Commission).

Who is in your team?

The team has over 30 years of international and local power industry experience and 10 years in IT, web and mobile solutions.  The key members are based in Manila with administrative support from Negros Island.  The team is also supported by technical advice and support from Microsoft Philippines.

Have you already founded/incorporated your company?

Yes

What is the intended positive impact on the environment and/or society of your venture?

Clamping down on electricity theft will reduce waste and encourage users to consume energy wisely.  The amount of electricity pilferage is equivalent to the output of a 300MW power generating plant.  According to the World Bank, if apprehended, up to 50% of this demand can be reduced if users have to pay for that electricity.  This in turn will reduce carbon emissions.

The system will also help build a society that will be vigilant against power theft and crime in general. 

How will the Fellowship Program enable you to achieve your ambitions?

Besides the vast network of the Fellowship Program, GLI hopes that the Program will increase ITSMYELECTRIC’s exposure and footprint in systems loss reduction and the good governance space. 

The market potential is significantly more in other countries and industries.  GLI would want to tap these after it has gained suffient traction.

Are you living in the Philippines?

Yes

edited on 27th July 2016, 10:07 by Jose Escay
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