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Estimating technical losses is fundamental to the planning and economics of electric power networks. This paper surveys the evolution of the ideas behind energy loss estimation and focuses on the development of the concepts of the loss factor and equivalent hours. The paper next identifies difficulties in using maximum demands and the loss factor to estimate energy losses. Based on this analysis, this study proposes an alternative loss estimation approach that relies on the “loss coefficient” as the fundamental parameter for describing load variations in loss estimation. A large load-curve data bank from Brazilian utilities is used to characterize load-curve parameters and provide perspective on the old and new concepts. Practical applications put the proposed ideas into perspective, showing how the use of average demands and loss coefficient can help to make better cable choices, increase accuracy in loss estimation for distribution transformers, and enhance the quality of information in loss estimation analysis.