News & Updates
Another Cryptocurrency Mining Operator In Bintulu Found Stealing Electricity
3 JULY 2022
A cryptocurrency mining operator in Bintulu was found stealing electricity in a joint operation between Sarawak Energy and the Police.
The raid was triggered following a detection of unusually high electricity load at Nyabau industrial area, which raised suspicions of cryptocurrency mining activities in the vicinity.
Upon inspecting the site, the team uncovered 55 cryptocurrency mining servers which were still operating. Even though there was an electricity meter installed, the servers were connected directly to the incoming mains wiring, so the meter was unable to detect and record the amount of electricity consumed.
On-site load readings revealed that the actual amount should have been RM9,600 per month, instead of the recorded RM250 per month. All direct tapping cables, cryptocurrency mining servers and other electronic gadgets were dismantled and seized as evidence of electricity theft. Police reports have been lodged and all involved parties will be called to assist in the investigation.
Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive activity which operates 24 hours, often requiring cooling units to prevent the servers from overheating. Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in electricity theft can lead to short circuits, damaged appliances, fire and loss of lives. When electricity is stolen for such purpose, it can easily overload the electrical system capacity, resulting in outages in and affecting those living within the vicinity.
Sarawak Energy warns the public that stealing electricity is a dangerous act and 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.
Together with the Sarawak Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and the Police, the utility will continue to track down electricity thieves who operate at the expense of public safety to maximise their profits.
In terms of raising awareness, the utility company is working with relevant agencies such as the firefighters to educate the public on the dangers of electricity theft to prevent unwanted fire incidents.
Members of the public should not trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity usage or allow premises owner to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering. Meter inspection teams are trained to detect various electricity theft methods, including tampered meters, fake electricity meter covers and underground direct tapping as part of Sarawak Energy's efforts to curb power theft.
Landlords are also advised to be mindful of their tenants’ activities and have their power utility accounts registered under the tenant’s name to avoid being implicated in power theft crime committed at the rented premises.
Those with information on suspicious activities related to power theft and on service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use are strongly encouraged to report by contacting 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 centre at Nyabau industrial area in Bintulu
Direct tapping cables found at the distribution board (above) and meter board (below)
Cryptocurrency mining servers found inside the premises
Cryptocurrency mining servers seized by the Police