SIBU, Feb 23: A woman was fined RM50,000 by the Sessions court here after pleading guilty to stealing electricity.
According to the Ministry of Utilities, the accused had committed the offence at her residence at Jalan Bedat, Sibu, in 2012.
Her action was discovered during a meter inspection operation that was triggered following a public tip off.
“In the operation, the inspection team found that the electricity meter at the customer’s house was tampered with and the meter was sent to the meter laboratory in Kuching for further investigation and subsequently used as evidence in the court proceedings,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
It added that based on the records, the customer had previously lodged multiple reports of missing meters.
“Reporting that electricity meters were either stolen or lost is a common modus operandi used by power theft culprits to destroy evidence of tampering on the meters,” the spokesperson explained.
The accused was previously billed for arrears amounting RM87,000 by Sarawak Energy’s utility subsidiary Syarikat SESCO Bhd, or SESCO, for unbilled consumption due to the tampered meter and lost meter cases.
The electricity supply to the house was also disconnected multiple times as a result of failure to make payment for the arrears.
The Utilities Ministry, as plaintiff, was represented by a prosecuting officer from the State Attorney General’s chambers.
Following this incident, the ministry reminded the public that stealing electricity is a crime under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.
The ministry warned power theft culprits against making false reports of missing electricity meters.
For any case of missing meters, SESCO will only arrange for re-connection of the supply after a police report is lodged for investigation. Should the report prove to be false, the customer could be charged under Section 182 of the Penal Code for giving false information, which carries a sentence of six months imprisonment and/or a penalty of RM2,000.
The Utilities Ministry will continue to work closely with the State Attorney General chambers and SESCO to prosecute power theft offenders, as power theft is a crime that not only endanger lives but also damage customers’ electrical appliances and can even cause fire to the premises.
“Members of the public are also reminded not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allow premises owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage.
“Owners will be held responsible for the crime as the meters are registered under their names,” it continued.
SESCO, with cooperation from the police is actively carrying out meter inspections and anti-power theft operations throughout the state to curb this crime.
The public can lodge a report to Sarawak Energy on any suspected power theft via its hotline 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential. — DayakDaily