Megamall, anchor tenant in Miri caught stealing electricity

The tampered wires at the megamall.

Miri, Oct 3: A megamall here was recently caught tampering with its electricity meter.

Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco), raided the megamall at Bintang Jaya Commercial Centre following a public tip-off, and it led to the discovery of power theft activities committed by the mall operator and an anchor tenant.

An initial investigation found that there were abnormalities in the meter reading, which led to the raid. Site investigators discovered that the wirings of two meters had been tampered with.

One meter supplies electricity to the air conditioning system of the mall and hotel lobby next to the mall, while the other meter supplies power to an anchor tenant.

“The metering circuits were found cut and wrapped with wire tape, causing the meters to register only one phase of the power consumption instead of three phases.

“This caused low meter reading, recording only about one-third of the actual energy consumption and resulted in an estimated loss of about RM100,000 per month for both meters,” a Sesco spokesperson said.

All evidence of meter tampering was seized and a police report was lodged.

“This discovery was made possible with cooperation from the public. Following the lead and months of surveillance confirmed our suspicion of power theft at the mall,” said the spokesman.

He stressed that stealing electricity was a crime that could endanger lives and damage customers’ electrical appliances and even cause a fire.

“We would also like to remind the public not to trust any service provider claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allowing business owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage.

“These service providers are duping the business owners, and at the end of the day, it is the owner who will be held responsible for power theft crime,” the spokesperson added.

The owners will be charged for meter tampering under Section 33(5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance, which carries a fine of RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail.

Sesco, together with the Ministry of Utilities’ Electrical Inspectorate Unit and the police, will continue on with the crackdown on power theft to curb this crime.

Sesco also sought continuous public cooperation to report any suspicious electricity theft activities via its dedicated hotline at 082-443535. All information will be treated as strictly confidential. — DayakDaily