NEWS & UPDATES
Another Cryptocurrency Mining Operation Discovered After Fire At Eastwood Industrial Area
Industrial Estates Targeted as Cryptocurrency Mining Operation Centres
9 AUGUST 2021
Cryptocurrency mining operators are getting more discreet in their operations and are targeting secluded locations such as industrial estates to prevent unwanted attention.
Since early 2021, four cases of fire have been reported in domestic, commercial and industrial areas, even in abandoned premises. Investigations revealed that they were contributed by cryptocurrency mining operations where electricity was detected to have been stolen in an unsafe manner. Although no fatalities were recorded in those incidents, building owners and neighbours have incurred losses and damage to their properties.
Despite the dangers of power theft, unscrupulous individuals have ignored the advice by Sarawak Energy as well as the law and continued with their illegal and dangerous acts, disregarding the safety risks to themselves and the public.
On 2nd August, one of the premises at Eastwood Industrial Area caught fire. Firefighters who responded to the distress call alerted Sarawak Energy to perform an emergency shutdown for safety reasons before putting out the fire.
On-site investigations revealed that the premises had been used as a cryptocurrency mining operation centre and all one hundred cryptocurrency mining machines were damaged as a result of the fire. Sarawak Energy’s technical team discovered that the electricity supply had been connected illegally without a meter, leading to losses amounting to approximately RM30,000.00 per month. A police report has been lodged for electricity theft.
Cryptocurrency mining operations typically run 24 hours a day and require a substantial amount of energy. Direct connection to the overhead lines will cause overload to the electrical network system, eventually leading to unnecessary outages or low voltages which could damage appliances and affecting nearby customers. Tampered wirings can lead to electrocution of unsuspecting members of the public who may not know the existence of these electrical cables in their vicinity or cause fire that endangers the neighbourhood.
Sarawak Energy, together with the Ministry of Utilities and the police will continue to search and track down cryptocurrency mining operators that steal electricity to maximise their profits at the expense of public safety.
Customers are reminded that stealing electricity is a dangerous crime and are advised not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering. Meter inspection teams are trained to detect tampered meters, including fake electricity meter covers, as part of Sarawak Energy's efforts to curb power theft.
Stealing electricity is a criminal offence under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years jail, if found guilty. Unsafe wiring connections pose a serious safety risk due to the potential threat of electrical fire and electrocution.
Members of the public are strongly encouraged to report any suspected cryptocurrency mining activities in their neighbourhood or abandoned buildings to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.
Location of the cryptocurrency mining operations centre which caught fire (smoke circled in red)
Signs of direct tapping to steal electricity without meter
Aftermath of the fire – razed cryptocurrency mining machines