NEWS & UPDATES
Fire at Cryptocurrency Mining Centre at Permyjaya, Miri Due to Illegal Wiring
Stealing Electricity is an Illegal and Dangerous Act
11 MARCH 2022
A cryptocurrency mining centre operating at a rented double-storey commercial unit at Permyjaya, Miri was found to have been stealing electricity following a fire incident.
Sarawak Energy was alerted after the firefighters responded to a distress call. The fire was successfully put out after an emergency shutdown was performed to disconnect the electricity supply to the premises for safety purposes.
In the follow up investigation and site inspection, Sarawak Energy’s technical team found 48 units of burnt cryptocurrency mining servers and evidence of electricity supply connected illegally with direct tapping cables bypassing the electricity meter.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was caused by the unsafe illegal wiring connection. Cryptocurrency mining servers are energy-intensive machines operating 24 hours daily, often requiring cooling units to avoid them from overheating.
Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in power theft can easily overload the electrical system capacity, increasing the risk of short circuits, appliance damage, fires and even loss of lives in addition to disrupting the stability of supply in the area.
Sarawak Energy is estimated to have incurred losses of more than RM13,000 per month in unregistered electricity consumption from this case and a police report has been lodged over this matter. Both the premises owner and the tenant will be called to assist in the investigation.
Since 2021, there were nine (9) fire cases linked to cryptocurrency mining recorded in Sarawak, with eight (8) of them from Miri alone. Even though there were no fatalities in all these incidents, building owners and neighbours have incurred significant losses and property damage.
Sarawak Energy reminds customers not to steal electricity as it is an illegal and a very dangerous act. 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.
Together with the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication (MUT) and the Police, the utility will continue to track down power thieves that steal electricity to maximise their profits at the expense of public safety.
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. 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.
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.
Burnt cryptocurrency mining servers found on site
The situation at site after the firefighters put out the fire on the premises is shown with the arrow.
Signs of direct tapping to steal electricity
Site condition after the fire has been put out