Deputy Commissioner of Police Sarawak Gives Assurance to SESCO in Combating Electricity Theft

Kuching, 3/1/2012 – In the effort to fight against power theft in Sarawak, SESCO launched its second statewide meter inspection operation last week in 2 cities and 12 towns from Lundu all the way to Lawas. This is an addition to the normal meter inspection program. A total of 275 personnel were involved and this includes 110 SEB Auxiliary Police. The result of operation reveals that 9% of total meters inspected were found tampered in the one week statewide operation. As at November 2011, the well planned and targeted operation have proven successful with losses reduced by 2.01% amounting to approximately RM 36 million.

The cooperation from the Police has been encouraging, and has helped a lot in meter inspection operation, especially in handling difficult situation. Before the statewide operation, Deputy Commissioner of Police of Police Sarawak, Dato’ Law Hong Soon visited SESCO Sibu office on 8/12/2011 to discuss the security and loss prevention challenges faced by SESCO in combating power theft. Among the challenges discussed are handling of difficult customers, repeated tampering cases and meter lost/burnt cases.

Dato’ Law advised that for the meter lost/burnt cases, the customers would have to lodge a police report, and SESCO will investigate and counter report if the investigation finding shows that the meter lost/burnt report is false. The police will then take up the counter report and investigate further. The meeting also addressed customers who are aggressive and attempt to intimidate the enforcement team. Dato’ Law gave assurance that Police will continue to support SESCO meter inspection operation and will take action on those who obstruct the operation. Among those present in the meeting were ACP Shafie (OCPD Sibu) and his team.

In Miri, one customer was arrested by the police for threatening SESCO technicians while doing meter inspections. A SESCO spokesperson said that based from past experience, customer who obstructs meter inspection, normally would have tampered with the meter. SESCO urges the public to cooperate with SESCO staff doing meter inspection operation, failing which, is an offence under Section 32 (c) in the Electricity Ordinance which will carry the punishment of penalty, a fine of five thousand ringgit or imprisonment for two years or both.

SESCO spokesperson also highlighted that in the operation, a few customers obstructed SESCO personnel from entering their compound to inspect meters, as they say that it is a harassment of privacy and they demanded for advanced notice from SESCO. SESCO spokesperson explained that this is unnecessary as SESCO personnel authorized by the Electrical Inspectorate Unit under the Ministry of Public Utilities  have the right to carry out meter inspection exercise anytime, to prevent evidence of tampering from being removed, as mentioned in the Electricity Ordinance 32(b) – Power of entry by warrant or otherwise, inspection, examination, seizure, etc.

SESCO would like to remind the public that apart from doing meter inspection, the technicians also inspect the safety of the meter wiring system to ensure that they are safe to use. Unsafe wiring not only can cause damage to electrical appliances, it can also resort in house fire and electrocution.

SESCO would only replace meters that are found faulty or tampered with. For faulty meters, SESCO would not charge meter fee and admin fee (operational expenses). However, for tampered meters, apart from charging meter fee and admin fee, the customer will also be charged with arrears. For meter tampered cases, investigation paper will be prepared and forwarded to relevant authorities to charge the customers in court.

Ever since the introduction of power theft hotline, the public has been actively giving SESCO a lot of reliable and actionable information. SESCO would like to thank the public for the concern and cooperation. The public continue to inform SESCO of any incidence related to electricity theft via telephone number 082-349658 or write directly to the Controller, Revenue Management Control Centre, Wisma SESCO, Jalan Bako, Petrajaya, 93673 Kuching, Sarawak. The Public can rest assured that all information given will be treated with confidentiality.

Theft of electricity is an offence under section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance and punishable with a fine up to RM100,000 or imprisonment of five years or both.

Dato' Law and ACP Shafie attended the dialogue with SESCO staff in Sibu

Dato' Law Hong Soon delivering his presentation

SESCO staff attended the dialogue session with Dato' Law