In 2017, Endesa detected approximately 68,000 cases of electrical fraud and recovered 761 million fraudulent kWh, a figure that is equal to the electrical consumption of Palma de Mallorca during six months.
Last year, one of every five inspections carried out by the company resulted in a fraud being detected. 40% of the cases were illegal connections to the grid by users without a contract, and the rest were other types of fraud, like double distribution lines or manipulated measurement equipment.
In the last three years, the energy losses accounted for by Endesa have dropped by nearly 7% thanks to reinforcing the measures to combat fraud—an effort that will continue in the coming financial years, given that reducing energy losses in the grid and the fight against fraud are Endesa’s priorities in the distribution line in the coming years.
Apart from these figures, it is important to point out that electrical fraud is an especially serious problem for people’s safety and health, both for the fraudster and for those around them. In recent years, numerous cases of fires in facilities and homes have been recorded as a result of those manipulations, and lamentably, some have even resulted in the loss of life.
In addition, contrary to what one might believe, the majority of electrical fraud in Spain is not committed by consumers in a vulnerable energy situation, but by large-volume consumers, that is, industrial and service companies, as well as businesses and individuals with high consumption.
New technologies to combat fraud
In recent years, Endesa has redoubled the measures to combat electrical fraud by increasing inspections, intensively using new technologies and utilising big data analysis tools that make detecting fraud increasingly effective.
Among the new technologies that have been developed in recent years, the most notable are videoscopes and tracers that allow inspecting installations that are underground, built into the walls or not accessible in plain sight, to detect, among other manipulations, the existence of double distribution lines.
At the same time, the use of big data tools allows grouping the historical data of consumption and the contract of the installations to which calculation algorithms can be applied in order to detect possible fraud.
Electrical fraud represents a damage to society as a whole, given that it translates into an increased electrical bill for all consumers. It especially puts both the safety and quality of users’ supply at risk.
Last year, Endesa received 50,649 notifications to its telephone line (800 760 220) and e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org,where citizens can confidentially report anomalies and alleged fraud. These notifications resulted in around 17,000 inspections and allowed detecting more than 6,000 frauds.