The magnitude of operational losses in the supply of electricity in Nigeria has been growing significantly. Issues of theft and illegal connection pose major challenges in the energy distribution. This has greatly worsened the current electricity supply in the country; hence, the need for the design of a robust system for identifying or detecting illegal electricity consumption.
In this study, an Automated Remote Power Management System (ARPMS) was developed for detection of meter bypassing, tampering and illegal load shedding. ARPMS consisted of embedded microcontroller, Current and Voltage Sensors (CVS), and Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) module for effective detection of meter tempering. The microcontroller was embedded with microprograms for task regulation and control functions. The CVSs were used to monitor and report deviations from the normal signals. The GSM module was used for remote communication and control. The microcontroller was programmed using embedded C. A user-study experiment, which involved fifty (50) purposively selected electrical engineers, was carried out to evaluate the proposed system. The engineers subjected the system to different scenarios of bypass. A structured questionnaire guide was used to capture responses from the engineers. Descriptive analysis was conducted on the performance data of the ARPMS from the engineers.
The result showed that ARPMS had 100% efficiency, 96% acceptance and a remote communication index of 0.99. This showed that ARPMS had high capability for detecting meter tempering. The result also showed that the real time ARPMS was able to evaluate the amount of consumed energy by a building through remote monitoring and control of domestic energy meter, and gave the information about the meter reading to the utility company through Short Message Services (SMS). ARPMS provided regular status of the meter on a predefined interval, and displayed user’s account update in real time. This system also detected electricity power bypass by consumers. The ARPMS controlled technology demonstrated the capability of providing a better mechanism for collecting power consumption bills in advance.
In conclusion, an efficient ARPMS for preventing power theft has been developed. It also used GSM based technology to perform billing related processes at all times. The system is therefore recommended for electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) for efficient management of energy consumption and prepaid billing.
Keywords: Automated Remote, Monitoring, Microcontroller, GSM Communication, Embedded C
Word Count: 376