Two Cryptocurrency Mining Centres at Uni Central, Kota Samarahan Found Stealing Electricity

Sarawak Energy Thanks Public for Tipoffs in Fight Against Electricity Theft

7 JULY 2022

Sarawak Energy has expressed its appreciation to the public for providing crucial information which led to the discovery of electricity theft at Uni Central, Kota Samarahan involving two cryptocurrency mining centres.

Following the information provided, Sarawak Energy began a surveillance and monitoring operation of the situation before raiding the premises with the police.

During the raid, a total of 147 operating cryptocurrency mining rigs were found, together with routers, modems and other electronic equipment. Direct tapping cables which were connected directly to premises were also discovered.

The operators had attempted to conceal the cables with fibreboard and cable trunks to prevent detection. Despite the sophisticated tampering methods, Sarawak Energy well trained and well-equipped technicians were able to detect all tampering techniques.

Police reports have been lodged and the occupants and the landlords will be called to assist in the investigations.

Sarawak Energy has estimated it incurred losses of approximately RM32,500 per month from unrecorded electricity consumption from the two premises. All direct tapping cables, cryptocurrency mining servers, and other electronic gadgets worth more than RM155,000 were dismantled and seized as evidence of electricity theft.

Cryptocurrency mining consumes a lot of energy as it operates non-stop. Due to the amount of heat generated, cryptocurrency mining often requires cooling units to prevent its servers from overheating. Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in electricity theft can lead to short circuits, damaged appliances, fires and loss of lives.

Such mining activities can also overload the electrical system capacity, causing local outages and inconveniencing those living nearby.

In this raiding operation, it was discovered that the mining operators used sound-proofing foam to insulate the premises and reduce noise from the cryptocurrency mining servers and prevent detection by the authorities. However, the foam is made of combustible material which can easily catch fire if exposed to hot environments.

Members of the public are reminded 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.

Sarawak Energy will continue to work closely with relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and the Police to track down those stealing electricity. Sarawak Energy is also collaborating with the Fire and Rescue Department (BOMBA) to educate the public on the dangers of electricity theft to prevent unwanted fire incidents.

The public should be cautious of 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.

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.

Sarawak Energy strongly encourages those with information on suspicious activities related to power theft and on service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity to contact Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at Rest assured that all information received will be kept strictly confidential.

Location of the cryptocurrency mining centres at Uni Central, Kota Samarahan

Direct tapping cables (indicated with red arrow) which were concealed to avoid detection

Sponge foam used to reduce noise and detection by the authorities.

Cryptocurrency mining servers found inside the two premises at Uni Central

Cryptocurrency mining servers seized by the Police