Two More Cryptocurrency Operators In Miri Caught Stealing Electricity

35 Cryptocurrency Mining Operators Caught for Power Theft for the Past 6 Months

MIRI, 1 MARCH 2019, FRIDAY: Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO) together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) from the Ministry of Utilities and the police recently caught two cryptocurrency mining premises stealing electricity at a shophouse located at Luak Bay, Bakam.

The operation was carried out after a search warrant was granted by the Magistrate to access the identified business premises for suspicion of power theft following public tip off and surveillance by Sarawak Energy's enforcement team.

At the premises, the raiding party was forced to cut open the shutter door installed by the operator to block access to the common area of the stairwell where the meters were located. One of the business owners initially tried to obstruct the team but subsequently allowed the raiding party with the search warrant in.

The meter inspection team then discovered both electricity meters were tampered with, and further investigation revealed that there were holes made at the wooden board where the meter cutouts were installed, allowing direct tapping wires to bypass the meters.

This prevented the meters from registering the actual energy consumption of both premises, recording only minimum consumption, despite running more than 100 cryptocurrency servers, together with huge cooling blower units running daily.

Both premises recorded energy usage totalling between RM700-RM800 monthly, unreasonably and suspiciously low for a cryptocurrency mining business.

All the tampering evidence was seized, and a police report was lodged for further investigation and prosecution in court. The operators will be charged with the unbilled consumption based on the losses incurred during the tampering period.

Since August last year, Sarawak Energy's utility arm together with EIU have raided about 30 cryptocurrency premises statewide and are working with the State Attorney-General's Chambers to bring the cases for prosecution.

Following the rise in power theft cases involving cryptocurrency mining outlets, the utility is increasing its efforts to closely monitor this activity and will continue to actively carry out joint operations with the police and EIU to curb this dangerous crime.

Landlords are advised to always be on alert regarding their tenants’ business activities to avoid the owners getting implicated in the crimes committed by the tenants operating within their rented premises. Stealing electricity is a crime that endangers lives. It can damage customers’ electrical appliances and even cause fire to the premises. Those found guilty of stealing electricity will be charged under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.

Members of the public can continue to report on any power theft information via the hotline at 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

SESCO meter inspection technicians cutting open the shutter door witnessed by EIU personnel and Police.

The stacks of cryptocurrency servers operating 24/7 at the 1st floor of the shophouse

The huge fan blowers found installed beside the stacks of cryptocurrency servers operating 24/7

The access (encircled in red) of the direct tapping cable from the meter cut- outs to the customer’s distribution board (two white boxes)