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KUCHING, April 23: A car accessories shop at Lorong Sawi in Sibu was found stealing electricity during a joint operation conducted by Sarawak Energy, the Enforcement and Legal Division of the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the police.
Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) in a press statement today said during an operation conducted recently following a public tip-off, their technical team discovered that the electricity was stolen through direct tapping cables hidden underground to prevent detection.
“The cables were connected directly from the overhead lines, bypassing the electricity meter, resulting in low recorded electricity consumption.
“Load readings taken on site showed that the operator should have been paying more than RM16,000 per month instead of its average monthly billing of just RM900. All tampered wiring and meters were dismantled and seized as evidence,” it said.
Sarawak Energy noted a police report has been lodged, and both the business operator and premises owner will be called in to assist with investigations under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.
“Stealing electricity is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail if found guilty,” the statement added.
According to Sarawak Energy, as the electricity supply was illegally connected to the premises, the wiring posed a safety hazard as they were not tested in accordance with Sarawak Energy’s operation’s arm SESCO’s standards and safety requirements.
“This is both a fire risk to the building and puts others in danger of electrocution,” it said.
At the same time, Sarawak Energy disclosed this is the second power theft case involving underground direct tapping cables this month following the first case which was discovered when the owner of a double-storey house in Kota Samarahan area was found stealing electricity using the same method.
In efforts to curb electricity theft, Sarawak Energy said, their meter inspection teams are well-trained to detect various methods of stealing electricity, including direct tapping cables hidden underground or connected directly to overhead lines.
“Customers are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.
“Sarawak Energy will continue to carry out meter inspection activities actively throughout Sarawak, working together with the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, the police and other relevant authorities,” the statement read.
Members of the public may report any suspicious activities related to power theft and service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity consumption by contacting Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org