By Chris King • 26 June 2021 • 3:42
Endesa Electricity Fraud Inspectors Will Always Catch You.
ENDESA Electricity Fraud Inspectors who have seen all the attempts at fiddling electricity meters
José Antonio Franco is the head of Endesa’s energy recovery department, and his team is aware of every possible fraud, to ensure that, as he explains, “all the energy that enters the system ends up being billed”.
Franco is always quick to point out, “The detection rate for these losses has varied considerably over time. We have evolved technically and in recent years we have doubled our best success rate: fraud is now detected in one out of every two inspections, 50 per cent, whereas three years ago, that percentage was 25 per cent”.
Endesa is a pioneer in Spain in implementing artificial intelligence in the detection of electricity fraud, thanks to one man – Javier Tejedor – a Telecommunications engineer who was already part of the company but in whom they spotted a great potential.
As Tejedor explains, “I am self-taught, I started in data science in 2012, on my own. I was curious and I trained on platforms, many free, where there is a lot of high-quality content available. I got into this with my brother and a cousin, who are both into computer science, and so we started to get itchy and competed in machine learning competitions, solving data problems. I reached the level of a teacher, and when I was mature, I proposed to apply it to Endesa. They saw the possibility of me joining the fraud department, and, here I am”.
Franco continues, “There is a fight, we advance, but so do they. No matter how robust the fraudster is, they look for a way to defraud. Before, with the old-fashioned mechanical counter meters, it was very obvious, very simple, fraud was done by oneself, or by a brother-in-law, but now it is done by someone who is prepared, he has become professional, and you even find integrated circuits inside the meters,” he says without revealing more information about Endesa electricity fraud.
In the case of rigging the meters, the electric company is used to detecting the innovations of those who defraud and say they have adapted, and come to apply a kind of forensic science to the meters, thanks to systems based on arduino that have been identified being used – freely accessible software and hardware – or other methods that automatically deactivate when they detect the presence of the inspector, “The fraudster always makes it difficult for us,” repeats Tejedor.
There have been electricity installers who carried out fraud for third parties in a professional and massive way, even travelling throughout Spain to carry out their fraudulent work for clients, and as Franco concludes, “Sometimes the fraud occurs by word of mouth, under the seductive idea that it is undetectable, and they explain, it is difficult to find them. You have to catch them red-handed, but they end up being found, sometimes betrayed by the client himself”, as reported by elespanol.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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