NEWS & UPDATES
Razed Cryptocurrency Mining Center In Bintulu Caught Stealing Electricity
20 NOVEMBER 2020
Despite numerous warnings on the dangers of power theft, there are still those who disregard safety for their own quick gains. The discovery of tampered wirings at a house in Happy Garden in Bintulu that caught fire on 10 November 2020, showed that power theft is dangerous and damages properties.
Sarawak Energy continuously reminds 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 that endangers lives and damage electrical appliances which may lead to fire.
Thankfully no lives were lost in the incident and the quick action from the Bintulu Fire and Rescue Department successfully prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses.
The inspection team found tampered wirings nicely hidden in the ceiling to avoid detection. These wirings are used to tap electricity supply from the main incoming cable by-passing the meter, resulting in electricity consumption used not being registered at all. Cryptocurrency mining servers normally operates 24 hours daily and needs to be constantly cooled and ventilated to avoid overheating. At an average, this energy intensive activity can cost RM10,000 a month or more depending on the number of servers at the premises.
In April this year, cryptocurrency mining operators 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 have their supply coming from the mains, by-passing the meter. The energy intensive activity caused overloading and supply interruption to the system. These intermittent power interruptions have caused inconveniences to many customers in the area.
The Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities, together with Sarawak Energy have investigated 95 cryptocurrency mining related power theft cases since 2018, with Kuching (34), Sibu (5), Miri (55) and Bintulu (1). This year alone Kuching, Sibu and Miri records five (5) cases each, while Bintulu with one (1) case.
In all of these cases, all unsafe wirings and tampered meters have been removed and seized as evidence. Police report has been lodged and the premises owner will be called to assist in the investigation 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 and the police. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Firefighters controlling the fire at the server room
Direct tapping wirings found at the premises
Direct Tapping Cable through the house wall
Cryptocurrency mining servers
Operation room caught fire
One of the rooms destroyed by fire