NEWS & UPDATES
Another Cryptocurrency Mining Centre Caught Fire from Power Theft Activities in Senadin
Firefighters Put at Risk of Electrocution by Live Bypass Cables Used in Stealing Electricity
22 DECEMBER 2020
Investigations at a house that caught fire in Miri last Wednesday morning revealed illegal electricity connection by-passing the meter.
The quick action from the Miri Fire and Rescue Department successfully prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses and no fatality was reported.
Sarawak Energy was informed that the direct tapping cables by-passing the meter were still energised even after incoming supply to the premises was disconnected. As a result, three firefighters were put at the risk of electrocution while they were trying to put out the fire as water from the hose can conduct electricity upon contact.
Fortunately, the technical team managed to swiftly disconnect power to the house, ensuring the site was safe for the firefighters to carry out their duties.
The inspection team found tampered wirings hidden in the ceiling and walls to avoid detection. These wirings, kept in an unsafe and messy condition, were used to tap electricity supply from the incoming mains wiring, by-passing the meter and resulting in unregistered electricity consumption.
Cryptocurrency mining servers normally operate 24-hours daily and need to be constantly cooled and ventilated to avoid overheating. On average, this energy intensive activity can consume electricity worth at least RM10,000 a month depending on the number of servers at the premises.
Earlier on 11 November, a house used for cryptocurrency mining activities in Bintulu was also razed by fire. Investigations found wirings supplying electricity to the house were tampered with, connecting directly from the mains and by-passing the electricity meter.
In April this year, cryptocurrency mining operations at rented houses led to nine (9) power interruptions in Pujut and its surrounding areas in Miri. All the nine operators tampered with their wirings and had their supply coming directly from the main wiring, by-passing the meter.
This energy intensive activity can also cause electrical system overload, leading to intermittent power interruptions and causing inconvenience to customers in the surrounding areas.
Sarawak Energy would like to remind its customers not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owner to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering. Power theft is a crime and it can also damage electrical appliances, leading to fire, jeopardising safety and endangering lives.
Landlords are also reminded to be careful when renting out their properties to prevent themselves from being held accountable for any liabilities as a result of tenants using the premises for illegal activities.
The Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, together with Sarawak Energy have investigated 104 cryptocurrency mining related power theft cases since 2018, with Kuching (37), Sibu (6), Miri (59) and Bintulu (2). In 2020, Kuching (8), Miri (9), Sibu (6) and Bintulu (2) cases have been investigated.
In all these cases, all unsafe wirings and tampered meters have been removed and seized as evidence. Police reports have been lodged and the premises owners will be called to assist in investigations under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance. Stealing electricity is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail.
Sarawak Energy will continue to actively carry out meter inspection activities throughout Sarawak with assistance from all relevant authorities especially the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the Police. Members of the public are encouraged to report any incidences of power theft, including the details of power theft service providers via Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at email@example.com. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Sarawak Energy and Fire Department forensics team conducting investigation on site.
The burnt circuit board at the house.
Some burnt cables found under the damaged ceiling.
More cables found in the ceiling.
Cables laying in the ceiling with signs of direct tapping.
Direct tapping cables from incoming supply.
Burnt cryptocurrency servers due to the fire incident.