Omani’s research helps detect cases of electricity theft from power grid

Oman Sunday 27/March/2022 19:09 PM
By: Times News Service
Omani’s research helps detect cases of electricity theft from power grid
Faisal Al Yahmadi, a technician at the Royal Court Affairs.

Muscat: An Omani researcher has come up with a method to detect theft of electricity from the power grid for questionable purposes.

Faisal Al Yahmadi, a technician at the Royal Court Affairs, has come up with a smart grid network (SGN) which digitises the power distribution grid and achieves smart, efficient, safe and secure operations of electricity. The backbone of the SGN is information communication technology that enables the SGN to get full control of network station monitoring and analysis.

For his efforts, Al Yahmadi was awarded under the Young Researchers Category in the Information and Communication Technologies Field at the 8th National Research Award organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

“Security is essential in any network where communication is involved, as it has been observed during several recent incidents. An adversary can cause an interruption in the operation of the networks which leads to electricity theft,” he explained. “Therefore, in order to reduce the number of electricity theft cases, companies need to develop preventive and protective methods to minimise losses.”

Faisal and his team introduced a machine learning based method that detects malicious nodes in a smart grid network. The algorithm collected data from electricity consumption and electric bills from the nodes in the power grid and compared it with previously obtained data.

The results classified nodes into normal or malicious, giving the status of ‘1’ for normal node and -1 for malicious, abnormal node. Once the malicious nodes were detected, a trust evaluation based on the nodes’ history and recorded data was conducted.

He also found that the detection rate of his programme had a 98 percent accuracy with false alarms raised in only two percent cases.

“For future work, the algorithm will be implemented at a hardware level to simulate a real-life situation and deliver a more accurate result, while countermeasures based on the trust value will be developed to solve and possibly automate a solution remotely,” he said. “Furthermore, the algorithm will also have a dedicated software with a professional user interface UI and does not need to rely on MATLAB software.”

The research project was conducted by Faisal Al Yahmadi and Dr. Muhammad Ahmed. It was published in the ‘International Journal of Computer Science & Network Security’ in June 2021.

“Winning the National Research Award or any national award is an honour itself,” said Faisal. “Winning one at the start of my career is an amazing milestone that I am immensely proud of. The award gave me confidence and motivation to continue the hard work and help our beloved country Oman, even by a little, to reach the scientific research goals stipulated in Oman Vision 2040.”