Energy thefts are harmful to the entire population and can cause hazards. Neoenergia's five distribution companies – Neoenergia Coelba (BA), Neoenergia Pernambuco (PE), Neoenergia Cosern (RN), Neoenergia Elektro (SP e MS) and Neoenergia Brasília (DF) – have a strategy of using technology to mitigate these problems. By installing modern equipment, smart grids, and data analysis tools, companies have increasing control over the energy flows in their networks.
“We work to supply energy to our customers with quality, reliability, and safety. Preventing energy thefts is one of the ways to achieve this goal, and that is why we invest in innovation and intelligence, contributing to make the processes more assertive," says Marcelo Arnaud, Neoenergia's Revenue Management Superintendent.
One of the initiatives is the implementation of new network standards and the replacement of equipment, such as intelligent sensors, which are installed in strategic locations, considering highly complex studies, to monitor the energy balance in the network. In this way, distributors enhance the diagnosis of losses, providing a basis for planning inspections. In several inspection actions, the concessionaires rely on the support of the state police.
Besides using sensors available in the market, the company fosters the development of technologies and contributes to the Brazilian energy sector by creating efficient products with lower costs. Based on the Research and Development (R&D) Program, regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), equipment was created for medium and high voltage networks with domestic technology. The model for 69 kV networks (high voltage) is in the testing phase and the one for networks up to 34.5 kV (medium voltage) started being marketed in 2016.
Another example created under the R&D program is the GODEL project - Network Observatory for Loss Reduction, a solution that can be used both for identifying defects and monitoring network losses. In 2021, the Start-up Challenge, a challenge promoted worldwide by Iberdrola, Neoenergia's parent company, identified competitive and innovative solutions capable of reducing non-technical losses in the distribution network, especially in Brazil.
To avoid energy theft, Neoenergia also has a network shielding plan, which contemplates actions such as raising the height at which the equipment is installed, and the use of cables installed with insulation features that prevent external connections. The initiative also includes the replacement of the customers' meters. The equipment will no longer be installed on the frontage or inside the buildings and will become part of a Centralized Metering System (SMC), remaining connected to the distributors' poles. This equipment allows telemetry, that is, the consumption data of each customer is sent directly to the concessionaires. Consumers can track this information in real time, thanks to a display installed in the properties, allowing more planning about energy expenses and saving actions. This metering model is regulated by Aneel.
In addition to the network shielding plan, distributors can replace obsolete or potentially defective meters with more modern models, enabling tighter control. People who still has an illegal connection and don't have an energy meter installed can contact the distributors to formalize the connection, free of charge. Regular installations are safer and ensure a more reliable energy supply.
To inspect public lighting, one of the resources used by Neoenergia's distributors are data analysis tools. Satellite images are automatically compared with the registration information. Systems are able to check if the number of poles and their location matches the data that is registered in the company thus facilitating the identification of fraud.
The use of technology for energy recovery is evidenced in the company's results. Total losses continue on a downward path and fell in four of the five distributors in the third quarter of 2021, when compared to the second quarter, with highlights for the reductions in Neoenergia Coelba, Neoenergia Pernambuco, Neoenergia Brasília and Neoenergia Elektro.
The Northeast distributors and Neoenergia Elektro recovered more than 320 GWh in 478 thousand inspections, as well as 113 GWh with the formalization of 60 thousand illegal customers and 99 GWh based on the survey and inspection of public lighting in more than 720 thousand points. For Neoenergia Brasilia, since March 2021, when it started to be managed by the company, the concessionaire has obtained five times more recovered energy up to September than in the same period of 2020.
Neoenergia endeavors to act preventively, making consumers aware and using technology. But people can report suspected thefts anonymously, through the Customer Service Centers or on the distributors' websites, under Service Channels > Report Irregularities.
Illegal connections make inappropriate modifications to the network, exposing the population to risks of electric shock because they are not made under adequate technical conditions. Such connections can also interfere with the quality of service for consumers.
Customer Service Center for anonymous reporting:
- Neoenergia Coelba/Neoenergia Pernambuco/Neoenergia Cosern/Neoenergia Brasília: 116
- Neoenergia Elektro: 0800 701 01 02
Digital service channels (Website and WhatsApp)
- Neoenergia Coelba: www.neoenergiacoelba.com.br | (71) 3370-6350
- Neoenergia Pernambuco: www.neoenergiapernambuco.com.br | (81) 3217-6990
- Neoenergia Elektro: www.neoenergiaelektro.com.br | | (19) 2122-1696
- Neoenergia Cosern: www.neoenergiacosern.com.br | (84) 3215-6001
- Neoenergia Brasília: www.neoenergiabrasilia.com.br