Crypto mining centres caught stealing electricity thanks to public tip-off at Uni Central

Location of the cryptocurrency mining centres at Uni Central, Kota Samarahan.

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KUCHING, July 7: A public tip-off led to Sarawak Energy uncovering electricity theft involving two cryptocurrency mining centres at Uni Central in Kota Samarahan.

According to a press release issued today, Sarawak Energy began a surveillance and monitoring operation of the situation following the information provided before raiding the premises with the police.

“During the raid, a total of 147 operating cryptocurrency mining rigs were found, together with routers, modems, and other electronic equipment.

“Direct tapping cables directly connected to premises were also discovered.

“The operators had attempted to conceal the cables with fibreboard and cable trunks to prevent detection,” it said.

Authorities inspecting the cables.

 

Sponge foam used to reduce noise and conceal the operation. 

Sarawak Energy stated that, despite sophisticated tampering methods, the utility company’s well-trained and well-equipped technicians were able to detect all tampering techniques.

It went on to say that police reports have been lodged and the occupants and the landlords will be called to assist in the investigations.

Sarawak Energy estimates a loss of approximately RM32,500 per month from unrecorded electricity consumption from the two premises.

It added that all direct tapping cables, cryptocurrency mining servers, and other electronic gadgets worth more than RM155,000 were dismantled and seized as evidence of electricity theft.

“Cryptocurrency mining consumes a lot of energy as it operates non-stop. Due to the amount of heat generated, cryptocurrency mining often requires cooling units to prevent its servers from overheating.

“Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in electricity theft can lead to short circuits, damaged appliances, fires, and loss of lives.

“Such mining activities can also overload the electrical system capacity, causing local outages and inconveniencing those living nearby,” Sarawak Energy pointed out.

Moreover, the utility company revealed that during the raid, the mining operators used sound-proofing foam to insulate the premises, reduce noise from the cryptocurrency mining servers, and avoid detection by authorities.

“However, the foam is made of combustible material which can easily catch fire if exposed to hot environments,” it added.

Sarawak Energy also reminded the public that stealing electricity is a dangerous act and a criminal offence under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, punishable by up to RM100,000 and/or five years in prison if found guilty.

“Sarawak Energy will continue to work closely with relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and the police to track down those stealing electricity.

“Sarawak Energy is also collaborating with the Fire and Rescue Department (BOMBA) to educate the public on the dangers of electricity theft to prevent unwanted fire incidents,” the utility company disclosed.

In addition, it reminded the public to be cautious of 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, including tampered meters, fake electricity meter covers, and underground direct tapping.

“Landlords are also advised to be mindful of their tenants’ activities and have their power utility accounts registered under the tenant’s name to avoid being implicated in power theft crimes committed at the rented premises.

“Sarawak Energy strongly encourages those with information on suspicious activities related to power theft and on service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity to contact Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at customercare@sarawakenergy.com. Rest assured that all information received will be kept strictly confidential,” Sarawak Energy acknowledged. — DayakDaily