Customers Stealing Electricity Causing Power Outages In Pujut Area Miri

MIRI, 6 MAY 2020, WEDNESDAY – Two houses were raided by Sarawak Energy’s (SEB) meter inspection team together with PDRM at Jalan Akar, Pujut 4, Miri recently. The inspection was triggered due to unusual high loading in this area and causing frequent power outages. Further investigation leads to the suspicious activity in these two houses. During the raid, the customers were not present and the police had to break the locks on their gates to get into the houses.

In the inspection, both houses were found to have tampered with the meter wiring system and bypassing electricity meter. The illegal direct tapping cable was hidden in the ceiling to avoid detection by SEB. The unsafe nonstandard wiring installed on site can cause fire to the premises. This tampering has resulted the monthly consumption of these houses to be very low, about RM70 to RM80 per month. Based on load reading measured at both houses during the raid, the actual consumption should be around RM12,000 and RM18,500 per month. Further investigation reveals that both houses are used to run bitcoin mining activities. Many bitcoin mining machines were found on site. These bitcoin mining servers consumed high power and run 24 hours. The bitcoin mining activities have been operating since last year October and the total losses incurred due to power theft is about RM155,000. In addition to the losses, this unplanned high loading also caused SEB’s system to be overloaded causing multiple power outages and low voltage problem to the residents at Pujut area. For the last one month, there were seven power tripping in this area. Frequent emergency shutdowns had to be carried out to do load balancing and facilitate reinforcement works in the substation.

“We would like to remind all house owners to be cautious when renting out their houses as Bitcoin syndicates are moving into residential areas to avoid detection”, said the SEB spokesperson. House owner can avoid tenants from stealing electricity under their name by changing the electricity account under the tenant’s name. For these two cases, police reports had been lodged and the respective customer will be called to assist in the investigation.

SEB is also urging the public to report any suspicious activities related to power theft in their community to SEB’s customer care centre at 1300883111. All complaints and information will be kept highly confidential.

The public is reminded that stealing electricity is a crime and at the same time it endangers lives and can cause damage to the customers’ electrical appliances which will lead to fire. SESCO will continue to actively carry out meter inspection and investigation operation throughout the State with the assistance from Ministry of Public Utilities and the police.

Police monitoring the raid and inspection

Inspection of the meter wiring system

Photo showing the illegal direct tapping found in the ceiling

Illegal direct tapping cable connected to bitcoin machines in the upper floor

Illegal direct tapping cables found hidden in the ceiling

Some of the bitcoin machines found in the house