Worrying trend in cable theft cases in Bintulu

The vandalised distribution pillar at the substation in Bintulu.

BINTULU, Nov 26: A total of 14 cable theft cases amounting to RM200,000 in damages were reported at Sarawak Energy Berhad’s electrical facilities here this year, with an alarming 10 cases in the past two months.

According to Sarawak Energy’s Bintulu regional manager Yong Hua Keh, despite various efforts in enhancing security measures, the problem is still prevalent in Bintulu and thieves or vandals are getting bolder.

“These thieves leave behind damaged equipment, causing inconvenience and endangering public safety. Stealing electricity cables is very dangerous. It can cause serious injury or even death from electrocution. This type of crime not only damages equipment, but also contributes to power supply interruption and public inconvenience,” Yong djsclosed in a statement.

To mitigate the problem, Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad, has stepped up night patrols in Bintulu, installed remote sensors to alert unauthorised entry at its facilities and spread awareness among the public through various media.

The utility provider is also working closely with the police in joint operations to carry out checks at recycling centres to stop trading of stolen copper cables among secondhand dealers.

Yong (cente) together with his team at a recent courtesy visit to Bintulu Police Chief Superintendent Zulkifli Suhaili to discuss cable theft.

Recently, a suspected cable thief was detained following a power outage report in Taman Jasa Putra Jaya, Sibiyu.

A technical team dispatched to attend to the case found a group of men acting suspiciously at the nearby substation and were able to detain one of them, while the others fled the scene.

The team found vandalised equipment at the substation and discovered missing cables, which led to the earlier power outage in the area.

Outside of Bintulu, a vandalism case was discovered in Sibu on Nov 23 at a substation near University College of Technology Sarawak.

The damaged equipment in the substation caused a fire and supply to the surrounding areas was interrupted.

Firefighters were called to assist in controlling the fire and the damages incurred from this incident is estimated to be close to RM50,000.

A firefighter controlling the flames at the vandalised substation.

“The damage has far less value compared to the inconvenience caused by the thieves. This is where the public can help us stop this dangerous crime. Please report suspicious activities or individuals lurking near electrical equipment or facilities by contacting Sarawak Energy Customer Care Centre. Information from the public is very much appreciated as this will help us improve our service,” urged Yong.

Customers may report suspicious activities to Sarawak Energy’s 24-hour Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com. — DayakDaily