Cryptocurrency Miner Found Stealing Electricity In Quadra Flat

10 MARCH 2023

An attempt to conceal illegal activities was foiled when a cryptocurrency mining operator was caught stealing electricity in a double storey quadra flat at Taman Ceria Permyjaya, Miri, during a recent joint operation by the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication (MUT) and Sarawak Energy.

While most cases of electrical theft occur in landed residential properties and commercial spaces, this is the first discovery of such a property being used for cryptocurrency mining.

A total of 41 cryptocurrency mining servers were discovered on site during the operation. Using direct tapping cables, they were all directly connected to the incoming mains together with other electronic devices. All servers, direct tapping cables and relevant equipment were seized.

A police report has been lodged and all involved parties will be further investigated. Those found guilty of stealing electricity will be charged under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, with penalties of up to RM100,000 and/or five years in jail.

Sarawak Energy has incurred losses of approximately RM7,700 per month due to unbilled electricity consumption.

Cryptocurrency mining consumes a large amount of electricity as the servers run non-stop and require a cooling system to prevent overheating. Non-standard installations commonly used in electricity theft for such energy-intensive activities can easily overload the electrical system capacity, increasing the risk of short circuits, appliance damage, fires, and even loss of lives.

Although Sarawak’s customers enjoy the lowest average tariffs in Malaysia, power thefts continue to occur as irresponsible individuals and business entities seek to make easy profit.

Sarawak Energy will continue to work with MUT and the police to track down and detect more electricity thieves, especially cryptocurrency mining operators. Collaboration with agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department is also ongoing to raise awareness on safe electricity usage to prevent fires.

Members of the public are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premise owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.

Meter inspection teams are trained to detect various electricity theft methods such as tampered meters, fake electricity meter covers, underground direct tapping and smart meter indications - as part of Sarawak Energy's efforts to curb power theft.

Landlords are also urged to be mindful when renting premises, and electricity accounts should be registered under tenants’ name. This is to avoid being involved in any power theft crime committed at rented properties.

Those with information or suspicions on power theft are strongly encouraged to step forward and contact Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at Sarawak Energy assures that all information received will be kept strictly confidential.

Direct tapping cables hidden in the ceiling to avoid detection

Direct tapping cables (red arrow) connected directly to the premises

Cryptocurrency mining servers discovered on site

Cryptocurrency mining servers seized by the police