Smart Meters Help Brazil Zap Electricity Theft

Brazilian utilities battle theft and deadbeats with smart meters
Illustrations by Jiro Bevis

Reading electricity meters is not typically a dangerous profession—unless you happen to be employed by AES Eletropaulo. Robson Dourado says residents of São Paulo’s Morro do Indio slum watch him warily as he makes his rounds, worried he’ll detect rogue wires siphoning away power illegally. Some co-workers have lost teeth in encounters with angry customers. To avoid confrontations with the street toughs who walk around with guns tucked into their trousers, Dourado, 28, practices a studied indifference. “I just keep on doing what I’m doing until they come speak to me,” he says. “If there’s trouble, I leave.”

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.