Duo fined for power theft

A mini meter laboratory discovered at a rented premises.

MIRI: A cryptocurrency mining operator and a co-proprietor of a premise here pleaded guilty to power theft charges at the Sessions Court today.

According to a press statement by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), the accused identified as Sim Lei Yean, 42, and Jong Min Siong, 48, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Electricity Ordinance.

They were charged with illegally by-passing an electricity meter in a residential house at Jalan Desa Bahagia, off Jalan Pujut 7, Vista Perdana, while Sim was also charged with endangering human lives and interfering with electrical installations under the Ordinance.

According to the facts of the case, the two were arrested on Aug 27, 2018 during a joint raid conducted by Sarawak Energy and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Sessions Court Judge Mohd Taufik Yusoff fined them a total of RM55,000 or in default three months jail. 

Imitation Sesco meter covers found at the premises.

Meanwhile, SEB said investigations were ongoing in sixteen other cryptocurrency mining cases in Sibu and Miri.

“The operators were found involved in stealing electricity in joint operations conducted by the Ministry of Utilities and Sarawak Energy.

“Sarawak Energy will continue to carry out meter inspections and investigation operations throughout Sarawak together with the ministry and police to curb this dangerous activity. The energy developer and power utility is mandated to recover arrears or estimated unpaid amounts for up to 36 months from the detection of theft by account holders.

“Power theft is a crime which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment if found guilty. It is also a dangerous act which endangers lives and damages customers’ properties including electrical appliances which may lead to a fire,” the statement said.

Additionally, customers are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises’ owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering as meter inspection teams were trained to detect tampered meters.

“Landlords are also advised to ensure their tenants do not tamper with their electricity meters to avoid unnecessary prosecution upon themselves,” the statement stated.

Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com. All information obtained will be kept strictly confidential.