The world is losing nearly $90 billion (£57bn) to electricity theft every year, according to new research.
The top 50 emerging markets lose $58.7 billion (£37.4bn) a year while the rest of the world see losses of around $30.6 billion (£19.5bn).
The report from smart market analysts Northeast Group found reducing theft in the 50 nations is an increasing priority for utilities and regulators.
It estimates emerging markets to invest a total of $168 billion (£107bn) in smart grid infrastructure in the next decade to combat theft and improve reliability.
While they represent more than 88% of the current installed base of smart technologies, the report suggests many developing nations are positioning themselves to quickly catch up, with one-third of the countries “already ready for significant investment”.
Ben Gardner, President of Northeast Group said: “The study highlights the transition towards smart grid infrastructure as electric utilities are realising it’s the most effective means for reducing non-technical losses.”
India alone loses $16.2 billion (£10.3bn) per year, followed by Brazil with $10.5 billion (£6.7bn) and Russia with $5.1 billion (£3.2bn), the report claims.