Power theft is dangerous, says SEB

Firefighters controlling fire in the server room.

BINTULU: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) reminded customers not to trust any service providers that claim to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.

“Despite numerous warnings on the dangers of power theft, there are still those who disregard safety for their own quick gains.

“The discovery of tampered wirings at a house in Happy Garden in Bintulu that caught fire on Nov 10, showed that power theft is dangerous and damages properties.

“Thankfully, no lives were lost in the incident and the quick action from the Bintulu Fire and Rescue Department successfully prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses,” it said in a statement today.

On the incident, SEB disclosed that the team found tampered wirings hidden in the ceiling to avoid detection. These wirings are used to tap electricity supply from the main incoming cable by-passing the meter, resulting in electricity consumption used not being registered at all.

“Cryptocurrency mining servers normally operate 24 hours daily and need to be constantly cooled and ventilated to avoid overheating.

“At an average, this can cost RM10,000 a month or more depending on the number of servers at the premises,” it elaborated.

In April this year, cryptocurrency mining operators at rented houses led to nine power interruptions in Pujut and its surrounding areas in Miri. All nine operators tampered with their wirings.

The energy intensive activity caused overloading and supply interruption to the system and caused inconveniences to many customers in the area.

SEB together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities, have investigated 95 cases since 2018, with Miri (55), Kuching (34), Sibu (five) and Bintulu (one). This year alone, Kuching, Sibu and Miri recorded five cases each and Bintulu – one case.

“Police reports have been lodged and the premises owners will be called to assist in the investigation under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.

“Stealing electricity is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail,” it added.

SEB also said it will continue to actively carry out meter inspection activities with assistance from all relevant authorities and the police.

The public are encouraged to report any incidence of power theft via Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at customercare@sarawakenergy.com. All information will be kept strictly confidential.