A question about NPC combat enounters

I've had the game since premium beta and I've been mostly playing as a trader and smuggler with a bit of planetary and space salvage thrown in since Horizons dropped. I pretty much always avoided combat, mostly by running away by high waking and only fighting the ones I could take on without getting blown to bits. Noble of me, I know...

I noticed that when I first got the game the encounters with enemy ships were quite regular, with them trying to interdict me in systems and turning up in USS's while I'm collecting cargo from space wrecks. Over time the encounters with enemy ships dropped right off until it was like I was the only living soul in the galaxy. I could pretty much play for months without encountering any NPC pirates at all... This was getting a bit tedious because, even though I didn't really want to engage in combat that much, the occasional hostile encounter kept the game from getting boring. However, with the lack of NPC interaction the game became just flying from point A to point B with nothing happening inbetween.

Recently I've been experimenting with different play styles, taking more missions types, and have deliberately been triggering enemy encounters in missions by manually dropping in and out of SC or visiting the nav beacons to scan them in systems I have no data on. I've also been taking a few low level assassination missions and standing my ground more when confronted by space pirates. And the game has suddenly started throwing more enemies at me. Even without triggering an encounter deliberately by "cheating" the system with a forced instance change, I've been getting interdicted and have been seeing many more enemies than before. This isn't a complaint BTW as I'm actually enjoying it.

So... Rather long winded I know, but the question is: If you deliberately avoid combat is the game programmed not to send enemies at you? Because when I was avoiding combat I didn't see any pirates, but since changing my play style this week it's like I've woken a small hornets nest.
Check the system security level of the system where you are carrying assets. Also look at the state. Any pirate activity listed?
I'm still in the same areas of space that I've been for months, so it's mostly systems in boom and high to medium security. But in the past even low security systems wouldn't spawn any enemies.

Since yesterday I decided that trading was boring and started doing a few more combat missions and it really is like the game has suddenly woken up.
I find that when I'm not doing missions, carrying no cargo, not doing PP, and not wanted 99.99% of the time I don't get interdicted.

In war systems I do get interdicted fairly frequently by system security, but they just scan me and move on.

VERY occasionally, I get a random interdiction, but if I'm not carrying cargo I just get scanned and the NPC moves on.

Mind you, I'm triple elite so rank doesn't seem to matter.
I am also trying to avoid combats, but I am almost regulary getting pirate for example when I am returning from mining session with cargo full of Painite or Void opals.
And of course during certain missions, but I suppose that this is programmed that way, because in the mission briefing there is a mention that there will be some enemy ships etc.
I used to get interdicted fairly regularly, but around the start of Horizons the interdictions dropped off, even in missions. I was still getting the "incoming enemy" message in some missions, but it was often triggering when I reached the station so if the attacker showed up I was already in the no fire zone and ready to dock, so combat was avoided.

I'm just trying to figure out why the game seems to have suddenly woken up after being virtually dead for me since Horizons dropped.
I am currently looking for proto heat radiators and I really think it know- I can't seem to find a single one while everyone on the forum is finding them like crazy!
It knows....
This is easy. Just collect anything from HGEs and change at material trader... :)
You may get to the point that these constant interdictions are out of control, I did.

My response was to make all of my ships combat-ready against NPCs; full weapon load, heavy shields with shield boosters in all of the utility slots and L5 Dirty Drive (Drag option). You will also need a charge enhanced distro plus a power plant with decent output. That way interdictions become a source of income in addition to the missions.
You're not alone, War Eagle. I've only managed to scrape up two HGEs in three days of searching, and found only MGAs in both. Not a PHR in sight...
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