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GE Energy Awarded A Patent To Detect Electricity Theft In Meters


ATLANTA, GA. - February 5, 2007 : – GE Energy has been awarded a patent for a tamper algorithm that is designed to detect electricity theft in the most popular residential electricity meters. This patented detection algorithm will be incorporated into GE’ss new single-phase residential metering platform this year.

A common form of electricity theft is to invert the meter (pull the meter out of the socket and plug the meter back in upside down, which causes the meter to run backwards and the kWh register to go down instead of up). The user leaves the meter inverted for a number of days to shave usage off of the bill and the meter is then reinstalled before a meter reading. GE and others in the industry have historically employed tamper detection tools to alert utilities that a meter is inverted.

This GE Energy-developed algorithm goes a step beyond inversion detection by looking for patterns to detect multiple types of meter tampering, including delivered energy, power outages and received energy. This means that it can detect the chain of events involved in theft taking the meter out of the socket, inverting it and plugging it back in upside down. It then alerts the utility for further investigation. Because this tool is an algorithm, there is no concern that any moving parts will fail or wear out.

The actual patent is for “systems, methods and apparatuses for detecting residential electricity theft in firmware.”

“This patent recognizes one of the innovative developments coming out of our metering business,” said Bob Gilligan, general manager of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business. “We are proud to have received this acknowledgment of our unique technology.”

The new patent is applicable to form 2S meters, which are the most widely used of all residential meters. GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business has a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that enable intelligent grid processes, which help decision makers drive greater productivity and profitability.

GE’s meters gather a variety of data points for utilities helping them to manage intelligent grid processes. As metering technology becomes more advanced, the meter becomes a powerful diagnostic tool that can help provide better grid performance and support other utility business processes especially service delivery and customer service.

Developing intellectual property has always been integral to the company strategy at GE. Thomas Edison, the founding father of GE, was awarded 1,093 patents. GE, over the course of its history, has been awarded more than 70,000 patents.

For more details on these patents, please visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office online at:
About GE Energy

GE Energy ( is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2005 revenue of $16.5 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels. Numerous GE Energy products are certified under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.


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