NEWS & UPDATES
Unoccupied Muara Tuang Warehouse Operating as Cryptocurrency Mining Centre Found Stealing Electricity
Power Supply Interruption Led to the Discovery of Cryptocurrency Mining Operation
22 SEPTEMBER 2021
A cryptocurrency mining centre at Jalan Muara Tuang, Kuching, was found stealing electricity during a recent operation by Sarawak Energy and the Police. The discovery was made following a public report on electricity supply interruption.
More than 180 units of cryptocurrency mining servers worth more than RM440,000, routers and an internet modem were found during the raid. Sarawak Energy’s technical team inspected the site and found illegal direct tapping cables connected from the mains wiring directly to the cryptocurrency mining servers. A suspect involved in the mining activity was also arrested by the Police.
Cryptocurrency mining operations require a substantial amount of energy as they run 24 hours. By direct connection to the overhead lines, they are able to bypass consumption readings. However, this causes an overload to the electrical network system and eventually lead to unnecessary outages or low voltages that could damage appliances, affecting nearby customers. Tampered wirings are dangerous as they pose fire and electrocution risk.
It was estimated that cryptocurrency mining activities in the building had caused Sarawak Energy to incur losses amounting to RM52,000 per month. All cryptocurrency mining machines were seized by the Police, with illegal direct tapping cables dismantled as evidence of electricity theft. A police report was lodged for further investigation.
The owner will be charged in court for electricity 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.
Customers are strongly reminded not to compromise on electrical safety as stealing electricity is a hazardous risk that does not guarantee any quick gains.
To date, 26 cases of electricity theft involving cryptocurrency mining operations were recorded this year, with 6 cases in Kuching, 2 in Sibu and 18 in Miri. Sarawak Energy has incurred approximately RM17.23 million in losses from these cases, with a total of 2,019 units of cryptocurrency mining machines seized by the Police.
Sarawak Energy continues to curb electricity theft, working together with the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the Police to uncover this dangerous and illegal activity.
Customers are also advised not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow building 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.
Members of the public are strongly encouraged to report any suspicious cryptocurrency mining activities in their neighbourhood or abandoned buildings to Sarawak Energy’s Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at email@example.com. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.
Sarawak Energy’s technical team and the Police gaining access to the building.
Signs of direct tapping to steal electricity.
Cryptocurrency mining servers found in the building.
Police seizing the cryptocurrency mining machines.