NEWS & UPDATES
Fire Caused by Tampered House Connections Leads to Discovery of Cryptocurrency Mining Operations
Public Urged to Report Suspicious Activities within Vicinity
7 JULY 2021
The quick action of residents in reporting a fire seen in an unoccupied house in Desa Pujut 7 prevented its spread to neighbouring houses in the area.
Immediately upon being alerted of the incident that happened last Friday (2 July), Sarawak Energy’s technical team shut down supply in the area to ensure the safety of the firefighters called to the scene after fire was reported to be seen at the premises.
Subsequent checks by Sarawak Energy’s technical team and the Miri District Police found that the mains wiring in the affected house was connected illegally and had been hidden in the ceiling. They also found evidence of cryptocurrency mining machines that had been dismantled and hastily moved out by the operator.
The police found equipment commonly used in cryptocurrency mining operations such as sponge foam sheets, make-shift racks, and internet cables. Police also seized other evidence found in the house and the owner of the premises will be called to assist in the investigation.
Sarawak Energy will continue to widen the search to track down cryptocurrency mining operation premises that steal electricity. Power theft activities are closely related to cryptocurrency mining activities with those involved tapping electricity supply directly from overhead lines using the supply for free at the expense of public safety.
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 electricity network system, eventually leading to unnecessary outages or low voltage that could damage appliances, affecting other nearby customers. Tampered wirings can lead to electrocution of unsuspecting members of the public who may not know the existence of electricity cables in their vicinity or, in this case, cause an electrical fire which endangers the neighbourhood.
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.
Sarawak Energy appreciates the support from members of the public and encourages reporting of 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.
Signs of direct tapping from the burnt cables hidden in the ceiling.
Equipment commonly used in cryptocurrency mining operations such as sponge foam sheets, make-shift racks, and internet cables were also found at the premises.