NEWS & UPDATES
Electricity Theft Causes Another Fire Incident
Cryptocurrency Mining Operator Found Stealing Electricity at Desa Senadin in Miri
11 JUNE 2022
A fire caused by electricity theft recently broke out at a cryptocurrency mining centre located in commercial shoplots at Desa Senadin, Miri.
Sarawak Energy was contacted by the firefighters for an emergency shutdown to disconnect electricity supply so that the fire could be extinguished safely.
After the fire was put out, Sarawak Energy’s technical team found 48 burnt cryptocurrency mining machines at the premises. The team also observed that the wiring system was tampered with and direct tapping cables connected to the servers. Eventually, this led to an electrical system overload which started the fire.
Based on Sarawak Energy’s records, the premises should not have electricity as supply was disconnected since mid-2020. Since then, the utility company has incurred losses worth approximately RM14,500 per month.
A police report has been lodged over this matter and parties involved will be called to assist in the investigation.
Cryptocurrency mining consumes a lot of electricity as they run non-stop and require cooling units to prevent the servers from overheating. Non-standard installations commonly used in electricity theft for such energy-intensive activity can easily overload the electrical system capacity, increasing the risk of short circuits, appliance damage, fires and even cause loss of lives.
This is the fifth fire case in Miri involving cryptocurrency mining centres stealing electricity this year. Previous areas with similar cases recorded include Taman Tunku, Permyjaya and Pelita Commercial Centre. This shows that selfish and greedy cryptocurrency miners remain unhindered by safety risks posed by their actions for the sake of quick fortune.
Electricity theft 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.
Sarawak Energy reminds customers that tampering with wires to under-record electricity consumption is both illegal and dangerous. In cases where electricity is stolen for cryptocurrency mining, it can also lead to outages in the surrounding areas, causing unnecessary inconvenience to neighbours.
Together with the Sarawak Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and the Police, the utility will continue to track down anyone stealing electricity for any reason whatsoever. Sarawak Energy is also collaborating with agencies such as the firefighters in raising awareness on safe electricity usage to prevent unwanted fires.
Members of the public are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premises owners 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 strongly advised to conduct background checks on potential tenants, as well as to be mindful and alert of their activities to avoid being implicated in electricity theft committed at the rented premises.
Members of the public are also strongly encouraged to report any suspicious activities related to electricity theft and service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use by contacting Sarawak Energy’s Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at email@example.com. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.
The premises at Desa Senadin where the fire broke out
Direct tapping cables found behind the electricity meter
Condition of the premises after the fire was extinguished
Burnt cryptocurreny mining servers in the aftermath of the fire