Cold Storage Warehouse Proprietor Found Stealing Electricity in Miri

KUCHING, 8 AUGUST 2019, THURSDAY: A cold storage warehouse proprietor in Kuala Baram, Miri was recently found stealing electricity in a recent raid conducted by Sarawak Energy meter inspection team.

The operation, together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) from the Ministry of Utilities and the Police, was carried out after a search warrant was granted by the Magistrate to access the warehouse for suspicion of power theft following months of surveillance and public tip off.

Upon gaining access, it was discovered that one of electrical meters was tampered with, resulting in lower readings compared to the actual consumption. Several units of cargo container chillers were also found at the premises operating 24-hours. Billing analysis records showed that the electricity consumption for this warehouse was unrealistically low (approximately RM1000). The reading of the electrical load reading taken during the operation was estimated to cost around RM6000 - RM7000 per month, which may go higher during festive season with more chillers.

The tampered meter was seized for evidence and replaced with a new meter. Sarawak Energy will continue to monitor the energy consumption at the premises to curb future tampering attempts.

A police report was also lodged, and the warehouse owner will be called in to assist in the investigation for electricity theft.

Sarawak Energy, through EIU and the State Attorney General chambers will be taking legal action against the owner of the premises 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 warehouse owner will also be charged for the accumulated arrears of the electricity stolen.

Stealing electricity endangers lives and can cause damage to the customers’ properties including electrical appliances, which may lead to fire. It can also cause serious injury and even fatalities.

Sarawak Energy will monitor monthly electricity consumptions closely, and action will be taken when consumption abnormalities are detected. Meter inspections and operations will also be conducted 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 continue to report on any power theft information via the Sarawak Energy hotline at 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Signs of tampered meter cover on one of the meters

Anti-power theft operation in progress at the cold storage warehouse

Some of the cargo container chillers at the compound

Meter inspection team inspecting one of the two meters supplying to the warehouse