Budget Inn Operator In Sibu Caught Stealing Electricity Again

SIBU, 17 AUGUST 2019, SATURDAY: A budget inn operator at Jalan Seduan in Sibu was caught stealing electricity for the second time in a joint operation led by Sarawak Energy with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities and the Police recently.

The operator had been under close surveillance by Sarawak Energy’s utility arm Syarikat Sesco Berhad (SESCO) for several months. The raid was triggered after analysis of billing records revealed relatively low monthly electricity consumption in comparison to the size of the business.

The budget inn occupies a 3-storey shophouse with a bistro/restaurant, karaoke (KTV) and sauna facilities. Actual electrical load reading taken during the operation showed that billing should have been around RM15,000 per month.

The method used to steal electricity was by tapping supply directly from the incoming mains wiring to the inn’s distribution boards, bypassing all the nine electricity meters and significantly reducing power consumption registered by the meters.

Further investigations revealed tampered cables had been hidden in structural beams to avoid detection. However, SESCO technicians are trained and equipped with relevant tools to detect various tampering methods.

A police report has been lodged and the meters and cables seized as evidence in the case against the budget inn operator who will be called in to assist in the investigation.

Sarawak Energy, through EIU and the State Attorney General chambers will be taking legal action against the inn operator under Section 33(5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance, which carries a fine of up to RM100,000 or five years’ imprisonment or both. The operator will also be charged for the accumulated arrears of the electricity stolen.

Stealing electricity is a dangerous crime that jeopardises public safety. In this case, the inn’s guests were put at risk by the operator as tampering with electrical wiring can lead to fire, causing injuries and endangering lives.

Sarawak Energy, in its mission to curb power theft, continues to monitor “high risk” customers. The power utility remains proactive in conducting meter inspections and operations throughout Sarawak together with the state regulator, EIU and the police.

Customers are advised not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allow premise owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage. Owners will be held responsible for the crime as the meters are registered under their names.

Members of the public can report power theft via the Sarawak Energy hotline at 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Sarawak Energy’s team, witnessed by EIU Personnel and Police, accessing and inspecting areas of direct tapping.

The concealed tapping cables (encircled in red) used to bypass electricity meters.

Unsafe direct tapping connected at the incoming mains wiring.