Suspect Caught Stealing Copper At SESCO Substation: Four Copper Theft Cases Recorded Over Two Days

KUCHING, 3RD FEBRUARY 2017, FRIDAY:  Sarawak Energy’s retail and operations arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO), recorded four cases of cable theft at its substations over two days with one case resulting in an arrest.

The four incidents- one in Kuching and three in Bintulu- resulted in extensive equipment damage and localised outages affecting hundreds of customers in the two divisions.

In Kuching, a suspect in his late twenties was arrested by Sarawak Energy’s Auxiliary Police (AP) for stealing cables at the Samariang Jaya substation, near the Petra Jaya Fire Station on Thursday.  The early morning incident caused a power outage affecting around 100 customers at Jalan Temenggong Haji Gobil, Jalan Bentara, Petra Jaya Fire Station and nearby traffic lights.

Sarawak Energy’s Regional Manager for Western Region, Choo Min Chong (朱民章) said; “Upon receiving complaints at about 6 am from customers, our technical and AP teams went to investigate and caught two men cutting off the substation’s cables redhanded.  Our security team managed to apprehend one of the men while the other escaped.  The suspect was then handed over to the police and a report was lodged.

“Our technical team discovered that the switch to the transformer inside the substation had been turned off and a low tension copper cable cut-up.  We had to isolate the vandalised portion and was able to restore supply to  affected customers at 8.45 am and arranged for a generator set to supply to the fire station as repair works went on to replace the stolen cables,” said Choo.

There have been a number of cable theft cases recently, targeting SESCO’s facilities and disrupting power supply and causing inconvenience to customers.

In Bintulu, two cases were reported on 1st February at Nyabau 3 and Jasa Putra Jaya substations and another at Pearl Garden substation also on Thursday.  In all three Bintulu cases, cables, conductors, links and earthing at the substations were stolen affecting supply to more than 200 customers.

SESCO Chief Executive Officer Lau Kim Swee (刘金瑞) said, “Time and time again we continue to stress how dangerous this criminal activity can be but these thieves continue to risk their lives by breaking into our substations and stealing parts of our highly charged equipment.

“This irresponsible act causes unnecessary power disruptions to our customers not to mention extensive damage to SESCO’s assets. We will continue to work closely with the Police to curb this crime and build awareness against copper theft.”

Since 2015, there have been 383 cases of cable theft targeted at SESCO electrical facilities. The company has spent more than RM 2 million to replace stolen and damaged equipment in the last two years.

Recently, SESCO welcomed the announcement made by Police on the enforcement of the Second-Hand Dealer's Act which took effect 1st February 2017.Irresponsible second-hand dealers provide a market for cable thieves to sell stolen cables.

In addition to causing equipment failure, power outages and electrocution, cable theft can also cause unstable voltage, damaging customers' electrical appliances.

Whilst efforts have stepped up in terms of security and monitoring, SESCO continues to seek cooperation from members of the public to report incidents of cable theft or suspicious activities around its facilities.

Concerned citizens may contact SESCO via the Sarawak Energy Customer Care Centre at 1-300-88-3111. Reports can also be logged into Sarawak Energy’s “SEB Cares” Mobile App, available for download at Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google’s Play.

Photos of the suspect being caught by Sarawak Energy’s Auxiliary Police at Samariang Jaya Substation Kuching. Also found with the suspect were the stolen equipment:

Photos of cut-up low tension 95mm cable at Samariang Jaya substation, Kuching: