The illegal unsafe wirings connect electricity into the premises.

KUCHING: Five cryptocurrency mining operators in Sibu were caught stealing electricity during a joint operation conducted by Sarawak Energy, the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) from Sarawak Ministry of Utilities and the police recently.

Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in a statement, said the illegal activity was uncovered at mining centres situated in four different shophouses at Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, Jalan Pahlawan and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman during the two-day operation.

SEB said checks revealed that the monthly bills for all five shophouses amounted to about RM800 to RM1,000 despite having mining servers operating at all times.

However, actual load readings taken on site showed that the premises were consuming at least RM250,000 worth of electricity per month.

“At the premises, the team found unsafe direct tapping cables from the main incoming supply hidden in the gypsum ceiling that were connected straight to the electrical appliances, by-passing the meter and avoiding actual electricity consumption measurements,” it said.

The meter inspection team, armed with a search warrant, breaks into the premises after efforts to contact the owners were unsuccessful.

SEB explained that the team entered the premises with search warrants from the court as efforts to contact the premises owners were unsuccessful.

“Police reports were lodged and all unsafe connections were removed and seized as evidence.

“The premises owners will also be called up to assist in the investigations,” said SEB.

It is learnt that EIU together with Sarawak Energy have investigated some 50 electricity theft cases relating to cryptocurrency mining operators in the state since 2018.

“These cases are now pending prosecution by State Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“Sarawak Energy is mandated to recover the loss of revenue resulting from this illegal activity and will actively carry out meter inspection throughout the state working together with the Ministry of Utilities and the police to curb this dangerous crime,” it added.

SEB also said that stealing electricity was a criminal offence under Section 33 (5) of the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and / or five years imprisonment.

“Illegal connection is not only prohibited, but it also poses dangers such as electrocution, fire and damages to electrical appliances.

“Customers are reminded not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity. Landlords are advised to ensure that their tenants do not tamper with their electricity meter to avoid unnecessary prosecution against themselves.

“Public members 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,” it said.