Customer Fined RM50,000 By Court For Stealing Electricity In Sibu

SIBU, 23 FEBRUARY 2019, SATURDAY: The Sibu Sessions Court ordered a customer to pay a fine of RM50,000 after she pleaded guilty to stealing electricity, an offence under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance in a recent hearing.

The Ministry of Utilities (MOU) as plaintiff was represented by a prosecuting officer from the State Attorney General’s chambers while the accused was represented by a legal counsel.

Based on the case evidence, the customer pleaded guilty to the charge, committed at her residence at Jalan Bedat, Sibu in 2012, which was discovered during a meter inspection operation triggered by public tip off.

In the operation, the inspection team found that the electricity meter at the customer’s house was tampered with and the meter was sent to the meter laboratory in Kuching for further investigation and subsequently used as evidence in the court proceedings.

According to a spokesperson from the ministry , based on the records, the customer had previously lodged multiple reports of missing meters.

“Reporting that electricity meters were either stolen or lost is a common modus operandi used by power theft culprits to destroy evidence of tampering on the meters,” said the spokesperson.

The customer was also previously billed for arrears amounting RM 87,000 by Sarawak Energy’s utility subsidiary Syarikat SESCO Berhad or SESCO for unbilled consumption due to the tampered meter and meter lost cases. The electricity supply to the house was also disconnected multiple times as a result of failure to make payment for the arrears.

MOU reminds the public that stealing electricity is a crime under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.

MOU also warns power theft culprits against making false reports of missing electricity meters. For any case of missing meters, SESCO will only arrange for reconnection of the supply after a police report is lodged. Police will investigate, and should the report prove to be false, the customer could be charged under Section 182 of the Penal Code for giving false information which carries a sentence of six months imprisonment and/or a penalty of RM2000.

MOU will continue to work closely with the State Attorney General chambers and SESCO to prosecute power theft offenders as power theft is a crime that not only endangers lives but also damage customers’ electrical appliances and can even cause fire to the premises.

Members of the public are also reminded not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allow premises owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage. Owners will be held responsible for the crime as the meters are registered under their names.

With the assistance of MOU and the police, the utility is also actively carrying out meter inspections and anti-power theft operations throughout the state to curb this crime. The public can continue to report to Sarawak Energy on any power theft information via the hotline 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential.