Arrears Bill Issued After Customer’s Meter Showed Clear Signs Of Tampering

Kuching, 28 Dec 2014: Sarawak Energy would like to correct the statement made by a state assemblyman on Saturday, 27 December 2014 in local newspapers and online media that the company’s retail arm, Syarikat SESCo Berhad (SESCO) has unfairly overcharged a customer.

We are disappointed that the assemblyman did not ascertain the full facts before making the statement, and has thus sent a wrong message to the public on SESCO’s ongoing efforts to stop power theft.

In the case of this particular customer who was issued with the arrears bill that is being disputed, SESCO discovered clear evidence of electricity meter tampering. Based on the findings

  1. the meter reading was found slower by 83%,
  2. meter front cover seals were disturbed
  3. the (accuracy of the) calibration screw inside the meter was disturbed.

SESCO conducted two additional lab tests to confirm the findings.

The customer subsequently informed us during interviews that the premise was rented out during the period that the meter was tampered with and the tenancy period has ended.

In SESCO’s view, this explains why the meter showed low consumption after replacement.  In such cases, SESCO studies the pattern and tampering evidence even more closely before issuing the arrears bill to ensure the customer is not wrongly charged.

Landlord owners of premises are reminded to register meters under their tenant’s name to avoid being held responsible for arrears bills - this is important to protect themselves.

Verification Process

Sarawak Energy assures the majority of law - abiding citizens of Sarawak that the company has a robust and transparent process to look into billing enquiries or appeals.

Customers are requested to approach SESCO should they have any doubt concerning any arrears bills. Complainants will be properly briefed on any meter irregularities found and on the arrears computation method.

During this process, photographs are presented to the customer as further evidence of irregularities.

For lab tests on the meter and verification of meter irregularities, representatives from Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) under Ministry of Public Utilities are often present to witness the process.

Customers are also given the opportunity to give justification. Should the explanation be satisfactory and supported by valid documents, an arrears revision will be considered. However, it must be noted that SESCO has no discount policy in an arrears appeal.

Stealing electricity is a crime and the company will continue to conduct meter inspection operations state-wide to put a stop to power theft.