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APRIL 7-12 2024


Potential of Smart Metering Devices in Fire and Crime Investigation

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 (8:00am - 10:00am) (Celebrity 6-8)

Finland is one of the pioneers in the use of smart metering in electricity distribution. In 2014, about 98% of all Finnish electricity meters were smart, and by the end of 2021, almost all of Finland's approximately 3.7 million meters were smart meters. The benefits of smart measurement have therefore been utilized in Finland for more than a decade, which is why smart meter data analysis expertise has developed also in fire investigation. Juha Alhainen has been one of the pioneers in developing techniques for analysing data from smart meters. He has trained dozens of representatives from the fire office, police, insurance companies and electricity industry professionals on the subject In Finland, UK and Denmark. In addition to the analysis of previous consumption data, the meters also provide a lot of other valuable information to support the fire investigation. Device fault diagnostics has become more comprehensive. For example, measuring the quality of electricity helps in the analysis of various fault situations related to fires, such as zero faults. The information obtained from smart metering is not only useful in fires related to electrical ignition causes, but in all fires. The theory part of the lecture and several real-life case examples are smoothly tied to the NFPA 921 standard. Especially chapters Electricity and fire (9), Sources of Information (14), Origin Determination (18) and Fire Cause Determination (19), Determining Responsibility (20.5) and Appliances (25) will be discussed during the lecture. Recently, new more precise requirements have been set for smart meters in Finland. These requirements give a chance to use collected data more precisely for analysing people's behaviour and even to support police investigations in crimes. In addition, as part of the lecture, it will be discussed how the metering technology used in the United States could be developed in terms of fire prevention and fire investigation.


Juha Alhainen

Juha Alhainen is an electrical expert and a Consultant and Forensic Investigator from Finland. He is also Certified Supervisor of Electrical Works and Authorized Electrical Inspector for all voltage levels in Finland. He has a Master’s degree in Electrical Power Engineering (M.Sc.) from Tampere University of Technology and his Master Thesis Failure mechanisms and electrical fires of electrical connections in switchboards has been spread widely in Finland and used even as evidence in court. Juha is also a Bachelor of Automation and Electrical Engineering (B.Sc) from the Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Previous installation and commissioning experience has given Juha hands-on approach to investigations.

Juha is one of the founding members in the Association of Finnish Fire Investigators and Chairman of the Board in Finnish Electrical Inspection Association. He is also a Member of the High Voltage Electrical Installations Standardization Committee in Finland. His expertise is widely appreciated, and he has taught and given lectures as an expert lecturer at dozens of events and training sessions related to the electrical industry and electrical fires in Finland and abroad.

Among other expert tasks, he has attended to fire investigations as a Forensic Investigator and Consultant for 8 years and specialized to electrical failure mechanisms and hazards. Related to these cases he has acted as an expert witness several times in different degrees of justice in Finland.

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