KUCHING, Sept 2 ― Five shophouses housing cryptocurrency mining operations in Kota Samarahan were found stealing electricity worth RM100,000 a month since the movement control order period began, Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) discovered.
During a recent joint operation between Sarawak Energy (SEB), the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) from Sarawak Ministry of Utilities and the police, the team had to cut open the locked staircase to gain entry and found the staircases fully covered with asbestos boards to avoid detection.
The team found 200 cryptocurrency mining servers which were operating 24-hours daily. The premises were also equipped with ventilation fans to keep the machines from overheating. Egg trays were also used to dampen the noise from the server and these trays are prone to fire hazard when exposed to overheating.
The team entered the premises with search warrants from the court as efforts to contact the premise owners were unsuccessful.
“The wiring were connected directly to the premises’ distribution board without going through the electricity meters. These wires were undersized and hanging loosely at the staircase. The unsafe wiring and installation can easily cause fire and electrocution to the occupants,” said a SEB spokesman in a statement today.
“Actual load readings taken on site showed that all five premises were consuming at least RM100,000 worth of electricity per month.”
All illegal connections were seized as evidence and five police reports were lodged over the incident. The premise owners will also be called to give a statement to assist in the investigation.
The success of this operation was made possible with the increasing public awareness over the dangers posed by the unsafe wiring used by electricity theft. These valuable tip-offs have led to the discovery of 15 cases statewide since January this year and these cases are now pending prosecution by the Sarawak State Attorney General’s Chambers.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the public for continuing to report suspicious activities in their neighbourhood. Such information have contributed to much of our success,” said the spokesman.
Stealing electricity is a criminal offence under Section 33(5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment. Illegal connections are not only prohibited, but it also poses dangers such as electrocution, fire and damages to the electrical appliances.
Customers are reminded not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity. Landlords are advised to ensure that their tenants do not tamper with their electricity meter to avoid unnecessary prosecution upon themselves.
Sarawak Energy is mandated to recover the loss of revenue resulting from this illegal activity and will actively carry out meter inspection throughout the state while working together with the Ministry of Utilities and the police to curb this dangerous crime.
The public is encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email [email protected]. All information obtained will be kept strictly confidential. ― Borneo Post