Power Theft and Direct Tapping without Meter Contribute Significant Loss of Revenue to SESCO

Sarawak, Miri, Friday 30th March 2012 – SESCO launched another massive meter inspection operation at four major cities and towns in Sarawak, including Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu last week. A total of 166 SESCO personnel including auxiliary police joined in the operation. A total of 2,500 meters were inspected and 13% meters of them were found tampered. 

In Kuching, 10% meters were found tampered. In Sibu, 14% meters were found tampered. 20% tampered meters were found in Bintulu and 11% meters in Miri. These figures are considered high. SESCo will continue its operation and extend to cover other towns as well.

In Bintulu, it was found that 27 shophouses at Parkcity Commercial Centre was getting free illegal electricity supply by direct tapping without SESCO meter. All illegal connections have been dismantled immediately and police report lodged for further investigation. Many connections done were found unsafe and may cause electrocution to public and occupant. Some premises have started operating business without having the electricity meter installed thus enjoying “free” electricity. This unethical action caused revenue loss to SESCO. The spokesman warned that contractors doing this may be blacklisted and banned from undertaking any SESCO contracts. SESCo will also report the contractor details to relevant license issuing authority for necessary action.  

The meter inspection operation also included customers who have been identified and suspected of stealing electricity based on their low monthly electricity bill consumption. These customers have been resilient in the earlier routine operations, by not allowing our SESCO personnel to check their meter or disconnect their electricity supply. For these cases, SESCO have turned to the Police who have provided security assurance, and SESCO team have managed to gain access to the premise, and found evidence of power theft. 

In Miri, the operation teams were successful in detecting many concealed direct tapping at commercial and residential houses. The illegal ‘direct tapping’ was done behind the meter fuse, or from the mains wiring of the house. The direct tapping cases are illegal and dangerous to life and property. SESCO spokesperson said that for direct tapping cases, once detected, they have to be removed immediately. For those hidden in the ceiling and walls, the customer would have to arrange with the contractor to break the ceiling or wall to remove the illegal ‘direct tapping’ and to be witnessed by SESCO. SESCO would make sure that all the illegal wirings are dismantled before customers are allowed to conceal back their ceiling. SESCO shall not be responsible for the repair cost and in some cases, it requires quite extensive breaking works in order to remove the unsafe wiring. SESCO has the right to do so as per Section 32. B (4) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance Chap. 50, to get the evidence of meter tampering and for safety reasons.

For customers that are caught with meter tampering or illegal modification of metering wiring, police report will be made for further investigation. Currently, SESCO has started the investigation process to call affected customers for interview and if clear evidence is found, customers will be prosecuted in court.

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.

SESCO would like to appreciate public’s cooperation in giving power theft information. The public can 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.

Direct Tapping without electricity meter at Parkcity Commercial Centre, Bintulu

Direct tapping cable found in the wall of a residential home in Miri

Direct Tapping behind cut-out (fuse) found