Meter Tampering Cases

Standard process applies for all power theft offenders - power utility upholds transparency in its continuous fight against electricity theft


1 MAY 2022

Power theft through meter tampering is dangerous and can lead to system overload, inconveniencing other nearby residents through outages as well as putting them in danger by raising the risk of fire. Records indicate that power thieves come from all backgrounds including high income residents of large houses despite Sarawak’s low domestic tariffs.

Sarawak Energy has an established internal process when dealing with meter tampering cases. Utility arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO), implements this stringent and systematic procedure to ensure that all evidence is collected, examined and preserved in accordance with the provisions of the Electricity Ordinance.

The meter inspection teams are well trained and follow the established Standard Operating Procedures in performing meter inspections and securing evidence. In addition, the teams are also equipped with tools to detect different methods of electricity theft and work closely with the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication Sarawak and the police to curb this dangerous crime.

Arrears, after investigation on a meter tampering case, are calculated based on the account holder’s consumption record and history, as well as technical evidence among others.

SESCO has also put in place an appeal process if the customer disagrees with the findings on the meter inspection and arrears charged. Although there is no discount policy for meter tampering cases, the customer can approach any SESCO office to submit their appeal to the Arrears Appeal Committee by presenting documentation or evidence to support their appeal to the interview panel.

SESCO will also provide ample notice prior to disconnecting and will not disconnect if there are on compassionate grounds. However, customers found to have tampered meters are still required to pay the arrears (owed) sum for the unregistered consumption calculated. The customer may request the utility to allow payment through installments.

In 2016, a domestic customer of Sarawak Energy residing at a double storey detached bungalow located along Jalan Song, Kuching was charged with total arrears of RM43,754.90 due to three meter-tampering cases detected over a number of years.

Evidence collected by the power theft team showed that the customer had repeatedly tampered with the electricity meter since 2011 and the meter had been replaced three times.

The customer paid about RM9,000 of the total arrears but refused to settle the balance of RM34,664.30 despite continuous engagement and reminders from the utility. As there was no proceeding case filed by the consumer, SESCO issued notice for disconnection.

The consumer subsequently filed for hearing of the case and applied for an injunction in September 2021 to stop disconnection activities due to medical equipment required by a member of the household. The utility agreed to put on hold all the disconnection activities against the customer in view of the needs of the said member of the household.