KUCHING: Three electricians aged between 19 and 20 years old were recently caught red-handed while assisting a 24-hour mini market operator at Taman Sukma Commercial Centre to steal electricity.
Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in a statement today (Mar 30) said the operator had been connecting power supply illegally by repetitive tampering of the electricity incoming main wires with the assistance of the electricians since early this year.
“The electricians were arrested by the anti-power theft team consisting of personnel from Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco), Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the police when they were in the process of doing the wiring.
“The operation was triggered following a public tip-off and close surveillance of the premises over the past months.
“The business operator was also remanded to assist in investigations into the power theft. Past records show that the business operator is a repeat offender who continued stealing electricity even though supply to his premises had been disconnected nine times previously,” SEB said.
Based on SEB’s calculation, the electrical load for the premises was measured and estimated to cost around RM800 to RM1,200 per month.
“The actual amount could have been higher considering that the reading was taken off business peak hours.
“As the electricity supply was illegally connected to the premises, the wires are dangerous as they were not tested in accordance with Sesco’s standards and safety requirements.
“This can cause fire a fire outbreak in the building or put others in danger of electrocution,” SEB said.
Through EIU and the State Attorney General’S chambers, SEB will take legal actions to claim the cost of electricity stolen by the shop operator.
“We remind our customers that such an illegal activity is a crime under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance which provides for a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment.
“In view of the rampant fire cases arising from power theft in recent times, we are actively carrying out meter inspections and investigations throughout Sarawak together with the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the police,” SEB said.
Stealing electricity endangers lives and causes damage to customers’ properties including electrical appliances which cause fire outbreaks, SEB explained.