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Methods for detecting and classifying loads on alternating current (AC) lines are provided. One such method includes the steps of placing an AC field sensor in AC electric and magnetic fields generated by an AC line, generating an electric field signal representative of the AC electric field received by the AC field sensor, generating a magnetic field signal representative of the AC magnetic field received by the AC field sensor, generating a relative phase signal representative of relative phase changes between the electric and magnetic fields, and processing the relative phase signal to detect and classify loads on the AC line. In another method, relative load vector signals representative of relative magnitude and phase changes in the magnetic field are generated and processed to detect and classify loads on the AC line.