Due to the increase in the number of electricity thieves, the electric utilities are facing problems in providing electricity to their consumers in an efficient way. An accurate Electricity Theft Detection (ETD) is quite challenging due to the inaccurate classification on the imbalance electricity consumption data, the overfitting issues and the High False Positive Rate (FPR) of the existing techniques. Therefore, intensified research is needed to accurately detect the electricity thieves and to recover a huge revenue loss for utility companies. To address the above limitations, this paper presents a new model, which is based on the supervised machine learning techniques and real electricity consumption data. Initially, the electricity data are pre-processed using interpolation, three sigma rule and normalization methods. Since the distribution of labels in the electricity consumption data is imbalanced, an Adasyn algorithm is utilized to address this class imbalance problem. It is used to achieve two objectives. Firstly, it intelligently increases the minority class samples in the data. Secondly, it prevents the model from being biased towards the majority class samples. Afterwards, the balanced data are fed into a Visual Geometry Group (VGG-16) module to detect abnormal patterns in electricity consumption. Finally, a Firefly Algorithm based Extreme Gradient Boosting (FA-XGBoost) technique is exploited for classification. The simulations are conducted to show the performance of our proposed model. Moreover, the state-of-the-art methods are also implemented for comparative analysis, i.e., Support Vector Machine (SVM), Convolution Neural Network (CNN), and Logistic Regression (LR). For validation, precision, recall, F1-score, Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC), Receiving Operating Characteristics Area Under Curve (ROC-AUC), and Precision Recall Area Under Curve (PR-AUC) metrics are used. Firstly, the simulation results show that the proposed Adasyn method has improved the performance of FA-XGboost classifier, which has achieved F1-score, precision, and recall of 93.7%, 92.6%, and 97%, respectively. Secondly, the VGG-16 module achieved a higher generalized performance by securing accuracy of 87.2% and 83.5% on training and testing data, respectively. Thirdly, the proposed FA-XGBoost has correctly identified actual electricity thieves, i.e., recall of 97%. Moreover, our model is superior to the other state-of-the-art models in terms of handling the large time series data and accurate classification. These models can be efficiently applied by the utility companies using the real electricity consumption data to identify the electricity thieves and overcome the major revenue losses in power sector.
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