Direct tapping cables found hidden in the ceiling.
MIRI: Sarawak Energy’s meter inspection team and the police recently raided a house at Jalan Muria 4, Pujut 2 on suspicion of power theft.
The double-storey semi-detached house was identified following investigations over unusually high loading (consumption), which was likely to have caused frequent power outages in Pujut. Based on billing records, the electricity account to this house was inactive and the electricity supply had been disconnected since October 2019.
“At the house, the team found direct tapping cables bypassing the electricity meter, allowing consumption used to not be registered by the meter. The unsafe direct tapping cables which can cause fire were hidden in the ceiling of the house to avoid detection,” said a press statement from Sarawak Energy.
It was also revealed by Sarawak Energy that the customer had initially refused to cooperate, and only allowed the team to enter after a court warrant was obtained. Upon further inspection, the team found the house was used as a cryptocurrency mining centre after the discovery of exhaust fans at the back of the house.
The fans were used to dissipate heat from the mining servers while the walls of the server rooms were also covered with box sheets to dampen the sounds from the server as load readings measured on site revealed that the actual consumption should have been at least RM11,000 per month due to the energy intensive mining servers.
Technicians inspect the ceiling to locate the direct tapping cables.
“All tampered cables were seized, and a police report has been lodged for further investigation. It is also learned that the house was rented, so both the house owner and tenant will be called for statements to facilitate investigations,” said the press statement.
Investigation shows that the parties involved in stealing electricity have caused nine power interruptions in Pujut and the surrounding areas in April. The irresponsible act has led to overloading of the system in the area, forcing emergency shutdown to make way for load balancing and to facilitate reinforcement works at the substation.
Sarawak Energy thus would like to remind the public to be cautious when renting out their houses as there have been many documented cases in Sarawak. House owners have fallen victim to tenants conducting illegal activities, unknowingly helping them to steal electricity as the accounts are still registered under the houseowner’s names. This results in arrears to be charged to house owners who risk being sued in court for failing to pay the amount.
“Stealing electricity is 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. It endangers lives and damages customers’ properties including electrical appliances, which may lead to fires,” said the statement.
Sarawak Energy will nevertheless actively carry out meter inspection throughout the state with assistance from Ministry of Utilities and the police to curb this dangerous crime.
Members of the public are urged to report any suspicious activities related to stealing electricity in their community to Sarawak Energy’s Customer Care Centre at 1300 88 3111. All complaints and information will be kept highly confidential.