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SIBU, Feb 16: A supermarket chain popular for its super low price was caught red-handed stealing electricity for the second time.
Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Bhd (Sesco)’s close surveillance on power theft activities led to the raid involving the local supermarket chain in Ulu Sungai Merah and Sibu Jaya recently.
The operation was carried out by Sesco technicians and auxiliary police after obtaining a search warrant.
Similar tampering method was discovered at both locations, where the electricity meters’ covers and security seals were disturbed, enabling tampering to the electronic components inside the meters.
This resulted in the meters registering less electricity consumption in the monthly bills. Police reports have been lodged for further investigation on both outlets.
All the tampered meters have been sent to the meter laboratory in Kuching for further analysis and to be used as evidence in court.
The supermarket chain is included in Sesco’s close supervision list for repeated power theft offences, particularly in Sibu, Sarikei, Miri and Bintulu.
Its outlet in Bintulu was found stealing power several times over the past few years, while the case involving its outlet in Sarikei happened in December last year. Whereas in Sibu, this is the second offence for both outlets.
Sesco has opened investigation papers for all the offences and is working together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities and State Attorney General Office (SAG) to prosecute the operators in court.
For the previous three offences involving the supermarket outlet in Sarikei, civil claims were filed against the operator and the court ruled in favour of Sesco.
The operator was instructed to pay a total of RM199,000 arrears bill to Sesco.
Sesco is intensifying its efforts to mitigate the increase of power theft cases, especially at commercial premises, by doubling its inspections and executive operations throughout the state and will continue to work closely with the police and EIU.
Stealing electricity is a crime that not only endangers lives but can also damage customers’ electrical appliances and even cause fire to the premises.
Those found guilty of stealing electricity will be charged under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.
Sarawak Energy reminds the public not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allowing business owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage.
The service providers are duping business owners into committing a crime where the owners would be held responsible for power theft.
Sarawak Energy also seeks public cooperation to continue reporting suspicious electricity theft activities via its dedicated hotline at 082-443535. — DayakDaily