Farm operator caught for stealing power

KUCHING:  A commercial vegetable farm operator at Jalan Oya in Sibu was caught stealing electricity by tapping supply from a nearby service pole.

A joint operation conducted recently by Sarawak Energy with assistance from the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Public Utilities Ministry and the police found that the farm illegally tapped supply directly from the transformer at the service pole, bypassing the meter.

Acting on a public tip-off, Sarawak Energy said since March this year it had been closely monitoring the operator, who was also known to have committed the crime on numerous occasions previously.

“We have put the farm operator on our surveillance list for power theft and were working with the police in building a case against the operator,” said its spokesperson from Sarawak Energy utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad in a media statement today.

“The illegal connections with exposed wirings are a safety hazard. There is a risk of electrocution and this may also cause a fire. The public is reminded that power theft is a dangerous crime,” said the spokesman.

The illegal connection (blue and black cables) tapping from the pole-mounted transformer’s neutral cable tail and pole-mounted fuse going directly into the farm.

The farm also accommodates a barrack for its immigrant workers which is equipped with air-conditioned units. All illegal connections were dismantled and seized as evidence during the raid.

“Power theft is still rampant in Sarawak and Sarawak Energy will continue to work closely with EIU, police and other enforcement agencies to intensify its operations against all identified targets in the state.

The Sesco meter Inspection team preparing to disconnect the illegal tapping of power.

“Sarawak Energy is also looking into technologies that will effectively detect power theft activities to curb this crime, the spokesman said.

Reminded the public that stealing electricity is a crime, Sarawak Energy warned that those found guilty will be charged under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and or five years’ jail or both.

The company thanked members of the public for their assistance and continuously sought their cooperation to continue reporting suspicious activities via its dedicated hotline at 082-443535.

It assured that all information will be treated strictly confidential.