MIRI, FRIDAY, 3 MARCH 2017: The operator of an ice manufacturing company was caught stealing electricity at his factory at an industrial area in Tudan here recently. The crime was discovered during a joint operation between Sarawak Energy’s retail and operation arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO), the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Police. It was the operator’s second offence.
The raid was carried out after SESCO detected abnormalities in the monthly billing consumption of the factory. The ice factory has been under surveillance given its past history of meter tampering.
The tampering was first discovered late last year after the owner was found to be paying monthly electricity bills of around RM100 per month which is abnormally low for a factory with high consumption electrical appliances such as chillers that operates 24-hours a day.
After the first meter replacement, a team from SESCO wanted to re-inspect the meter but was denied entry by the factory’s operator.
The SESCO team then returned with a warrant obtained from court and gained entry into the premises.
Upon inspection, the team found that the meter wiring had been again tampered with.
Further investigations revealed that the factory operations had been consuming electricity worth about RM15, 000 per month but was only billed a small fraction of the total consumption amount because of the tampered meter wiring.
A spokesperson from SESCO said, “This is another successful raid undertaken by both SESCO and EIU. We have been keeping a close watch on this customer who repeatedly denied entry to SESCO meter inspection teams.”
To deter the customer from stealing electricity, the meters had been replaced with smart meters, equipped with remote monitoring features which will trigger an alert the moment the meters are tampered with. The remote monitoring system will also send an alarm if there are any abnormalities in consumption patterns and trigger the meter inspection team for further verification on site.
As one of the measures to deter power theft, SESCO will continue to install smart meters to other customers in stages.
A police report has been lodged and the operator will be charged for stealing electricity under Section 33(5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance which carries a fine of up to RM100, 000 or imprisonment of five years or both if convicted.
Meanwhile, SESCO seeks the cooperation from members of the public to allow its inspection teams to check their meters, not only for meter tampering cases, but also to ensure safety of the meter wiring. All SESCO personnel are issued with staff identification card (ID) to introduce themselves to customers at site.
SESCO will continue to work closely with EIU and other government agencies to curb power theft in Sarawak. Power theft is not only illegal, but is also dangerous and can result in serious injuries or death.
Those with information on suspicious activities involving power theft are encouraged to contact SESCO’s power theft hotline at 082-443535/082-443535 or email email@example.com. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Customers may also seek more information by calling Sarawak Energy’s Customer Care Centre at 1300 88 3111 which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
SESCO technicians witnessed by EIU, inspecting one of the two meters.
The direct tapping cable connected from the blue phase cutout directly to the customer’s isolator bypassing SESCO’s meter.