Kota Samarahan A Hotspot for Power Theft Activities

Two Operators Steal Electricity for Cryptocurrency Mining


31 JANUARY 2023

Sarawak Energy, together with the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and the Police, is intensifying its anti-power theft enforcement at Kota Samarahan.

Last week, another three cryptocurrency mining operations at Kota Samarahan were caught stealing electricity, with a total of 179 cryptocurrency mining servers found during the raid.

Direct tapping cables connected directly from the incoming mains to the premises were discovered during the joint operation involving the three agencies. The cables were dismantled and seized together with the servers as evidence of electricity theft.

Sarawak Energy has estimated that it has incurred losses of more than RM33,000 per month due to these three cases of unbilled consumption of power. Police reports have been lodged for further investigation.

In 2022, a total of eight premises from the Kota Samarahan area were detected stealing electricity, with more than 300 mining servers seized and 158 servers burnt from two fire cases which occurred in August. Sarawak Energy incurred losses amounting to an estimated RM124,600 per month from these cases.

Although Sarawak's customers enjoy the lowest average tariffs in Malaysia, power thefts continue to occur.

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.

Those 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 will continue to work with the Sarawak Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication 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 unwanted fires.

Landlords are advised to be mindful of tenants’ activities and electricity accounts should be registered under tenants’ name. This is to avoid being involved in any power theft crime committed at rented properties.

Members of the public are also reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premises 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.

Those with power theft information 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.

Cryptocurrency mining servers found at the raided premises in Kota Samarahan

Direct tapping cables (red arrow) used to steal electricity at the raided premises

Servers from the cryptocurrency mining centres seized by the Police as evidence of electricity theft