KUCHING, Dec 5: An occupied shop lot in Siburan was caught stealing electricity to run a cryptocurrency mining operation during a joint-operation by Sarawak Energy Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) and Padawan police, last Thursday.
Sarawak Energy in a statement said the raid was carried out following several public tip-offs, and a warrant issued by the Magistrate Court, which enabled the team to access the premises through the locked stairwell where they found tampered wiring hidden behind the premise’s signage.
“Upon gaining access to the stairwell, the team also discovered dangerous wiring connections along the staircase towards the mining server rooms. Supply to all the servers was connected directly from the main incoming cable without going through the meter, resulting in electricity consumption not being registered,” it said.
Sarawak Energy said the load readings taken from the distribution board showed high energy consumption of between RM37,000 to RM40,000 per month as opposed to zero monthly billings since September 2020.
“All the unsafe tampered wiring was seized as evidence and a police report has been lodged and the premises owner will be called in to assist in the investigation under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.
“Stealing electricity is a criminal offense which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and five years’ jail,” it added.
In a related case, Sarawak Energy said on Nov 11, this year, a house in Bintulu used for cryptocurrency mining activities was razed by fire.
“Investigations found wirings supplying electricity were tampered with, connecting directly from the mains and by-passing the electricity meter.
“The Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities, together with Sarawak Energy has investigated 97 cryptocurrency mining-related power theft cases since 2018, with 35 cases recorded in Kuching, six cases in Sibu, 55 cases in Miri (55) and one case in Bintulu.
“This year alone, Kuching and Sibu have recorded six (6) cases and Miri has recorded five (5) cases while Bintulu has recorded one (1) case,” it said.
Sarawak Energy also advises landlords to constantly be alert over their tenants’ activities to avoid being implicated in possible power theft committed by tenants at rented premises.
“Sarawak Energy will continue to actively carry out meter inspection activities throughout Sarawak with assistance from all relevant authorities especially the Ministry of Utilities and the Police.
“Members of the public may report any suspicious activities related to power theft and on service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use. They can do so by contacting Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential,” the statement read. –DayakDaily.