Consumer Tribunal Dismisses Customer’s Claim for Arrears Revision Charged by SESCO Due To Meter Tampering

22nd June 2015 – KUCHING: The consumer tribunal has dismissed a customer's claim against SESCO for a revision of an arrears sum of over RM4000. Customer Madam Lau filed the claim against SESCO in the Consumer Tribunal court on 8 May 2015.

According to the claimant, although the meter was registered under her name, as the premises were rented out, she should not be held responsible for the arrears owed to the power utility.

SESCO contended that the arrears of RM 4,516.30 was considered to be a loss of revenue, calculated on the basis of irregularities detected on the meter wiring system installed at the customer’s premises. The irregularity was detected by a SESCO technician at a shop house at Jalan Gold Jade, Kuching on 8 September 2011.

It was found that a direct tapping wire was connected at the back of the meter cut-out fuse to bypass the installed meter. This illegal wire was connected to first floor. The consumption used by first floor's occupant was therefore not fully registered by the meter.

According to a SESCO spokesperson, the customer who is also the owner of the property had claimed no knowledge of the tampering. The premises had been rented out to a cyber-café when she bought over the shop in 2010 and then to a recreational club a few months before SESCO discovered the tampering.  However, as the electricity account was under the customer’s name, she is liable for the arrears.

SESCO continuously reminds property owners to register their electricity accounts under their tenants' names, to avoid complications in meter tampering cases, where the owner ends up having to bear the penalty and also face the legal consequences. The SESCO spokesperson added, "Don't let your tenants steal under your name".

For the computation of the arrears amount charged in tampering cases, SESCO has a transparent and systematic arrears calculation process. Likewise, in any arrears claim letter to customers, SESCO will state the irregularities detected and the name of person where customers can make an appointment to make queries if in doubt.

SESCO also clarified that the company has no discount policy. Any revision on the arrears amount is strictly based on the evidence including supporting documents provided by customers and approved by the SESCO appeal committee.

SESCO would like to remind the public that stealing electricity is a dangerous crime as it endangers lives and causes damages to property. SESCO will continue to actively carry out meter inspection and investigation throughout the state. Customers whose meters are found tampered with shall be reported and prosecuted in court for offences under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and five years imprisonment.