ENGS 89/90 Reports

Degree Program


Year of Graduation


Project Advisor

Geoffrey Parker


Solomon Diamond

Document Type


Publication Date



Energy access is an essential facet in improving quality of life. Currently, 6% of rural Sierra Leone has access to reliable electricity. Our sponsor, Energicity Corp, addresses this problem by developing solar minigrids to help power these communities. However, these decentralized grids are difficult to monitor, and Energicity loses revenue and faces decreased grid reliability due to electricity thieves – users stealing electrical power via bypassing Energicity's meters . This project aims to develop an automated theft detection system that can integrate into Energicity’s existing grid infrastructure and reliably identify and locate electricity theft. To address this problem, the grids are first split into sectors of roughly twenty homes. Then each sector is monitored with an off-the-shelf hardware device taking energy readings. A software algorithm uses these readings to compute the difference between energy flowing in vs. energy flowing out of these sectors to determine the existence of electricity theft. When tested on simulated grids similar to Energicity's, the algorithm correctly identified electricity theft 93.6% of the time, while returning false positives only 5% of the time. Energicity can use this solution to streamline its theft discovery process to be faster, more profitable, and accurate. This solution is key in deterring theft and therefore empowers Energicity to provide clean energy to rural communities in Sierra Leone that desperately need it.

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