Wire thieves may risk death by electrocution, says Sarawak Energy

Examples of street light vandalism in many parts of Kuching.

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KUCHING, June 8: During the recent Gawai Dayak holidays, a suspected vandal was found dead while holding cut twin-flat wires at Jalan Sibiyu in Bintulu.

Sarawak Energy’s technical team arrived at the scene after being contacted by the police and found a vandalised street light column near the victim.

“Electrocution is suspected as the cause of death. These cases show that vandals are willing to disregard safety and risk their lives for small gains which can potentially lead to undesirable consequences,” said Sarawak Energy in a press statement today.

It warned that stealing live electrical cables and wires can result in flashovers or electrocution, burns and even death.

In cases of unlit street lights caused by wire theft, motorists run the risk of road accidents when driving along the affected roads.

“Damaged and vandalised street lights along Jalan Casuarina and Jalan Bako in Kuching caused by thieves stealing copper wires are forcing motorists in the area to travel in darkness and putting the public in danger,” said Sarawak Energy.

Street light vandalism cases are also rising in other parts of Kuching.

In 2022 alone, a total of 818 damaged street lights were reported in the city. Hotspot areas include Demak Laut Sejingkat (42 per cent), parts of Petra Jaya (29 per cent) and Bako (19 per cent).

For the Jalan Casuarina and Jalan Bako cases, Sarawak Energy’s technical team discovered that the twin-flat wires inside all the street light columns along the whole stretch of road had been stolen after road users reported unlit street lights in the area.

Unfortunately, not long after replacement, the replaced wires were stolen again.

Sarawak Energy said police reports had been lodged and the utility company is increasing patrols in the area to prevent the incident from recurring but ask for public cooperation to monitor the area and report any suspicious activities.

It warned that the criminal activity is dangerous and can be fatal for road users.

Members of the public are urged to immediately report any individuals behaving suspiciously near any electrical facilities, as part of its efforts to curb vandalism activities.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy has increased patrols at commonly affected areas and installed remote sensors to detect unauthorised entry at its facilities. For street lights, its technical team is looking into modifying the circuits and installing temporary twin twisted wires which will be suspended from the street light columns.

Joint operations with the Police will also be carried out to check recycling centres for trades of stolen copper cables and wires among second hand dealers.

The public can report suspicious activities to Sarawak Energy’s 24-hour Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com. All information obtained will be kept strictly confidential. — DayakDaily