NEWS & UPDATES
Electricity Theft Discovered at Two Cryptocurrency Mining Centres
Sarawak Energy estimates over RM15,000 monthly loss in unregistered electricity consumption
17 FEBRUARY 2022
A recent joint executive action between Sarawak Energy, Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication (MUT) and the Police in Miri led to the discovery of power theft involving cryptocurrency operators, operating from shophouses located at Desa Bahagia and Desa Senadin.
Direct tapping cables were used to steal electricity from the mains wiring in both premises as reported by Sarawak Energy’s technical team during the raid. The operation team also found 85 cryptocurrency mining servers worth RM425,000 and other electronic equipment from both sites. The utility estimated it had incurred losses of more than RM15,000 per month in unregistered electricity consumption.
All the cryptocurrency mining servers and equipment were seized by the Police, with direct tapping cables dismantled and seized by Sarawak Energy for evidence in court. Police reports have been lodged over this matter, and the operators and the owners of the premises will be called for further investigations.
The operators and premises owners may be charged under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance for stealing electricity. Penalties include a fine of up to RM100,000 and/or five years jail if found guilty.
Cryptocurrency mining servers are energy intensive machines operating 24 hours daily, often requiring cooling units to avoid them from overheating. The use of the machines can easily overload electrical system capacity, disrupting stability of supply in the area. There is also a risk of short circuits, appliance damage, fires and even loss of lives as non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections are commonly used.
Since 2020, a total of 81 electricity theft cases involving cryptocurrency mining were detected – 24 in Kuching, 9 in Sibu, 45 in Miri and 3 in Bintulu – causing an estimated loss of more than RM17 million from unregistered consumption.
Sarawak Energy’s meter inspection teams are trained to detect various electricity theft methods as part of the power utility's efforts to curb electricity theft. The utility will continue to actively carry out meter inspection activities throughout Sarawak with assistance from all relevant authorities especially MUT and the Police.
All Sarawak Energy customers are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premises owner to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.
Landlords are advised to be alert over 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.
Members of the public may report any suspicious activities related to power theft and on 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.
Direct tapping cables connected to the cryptocurrency mining servers at Desa Bahagia
Cryptocurrency mining servers at Desa Bahagia (above) and Desa Senadin (bottom)
Cryptocurrency mining servers seized by Miri Police