Sarawak Energy incurred losses estimated at RM1.3 billion in the past 10 years due to power theft.
Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi said the highest losses happened in 2010 at RM220 million.
The losses, fortunately, were effectively reduced to RM80 million in 2018 through effective enforcement by the state’s sole electricity provider.
This loss of revenue deprives Sarawak Energy of revenue that could be invested in a more reliable and modern power system, he said during a press conference after delivering his winding-up speech yesterday.
Dr Rundi said Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad, followed a stringent and systematic procedure to handle power theft.
A robust and established internal process is already in place for meter inspection, evidence collection, laboratory testing, and calculation of arrears.
“My ministry, having a regulatory role, oversees this procedure to ensure fairness and transparency,” he said, adding that the internal process included inspection of meters for abnormalities.
“A letter is issued informing the client on the irregularities, strong evidence of actual tampering, and the arrears charged.
“The arrears cover a maximum of 36 months or three years (not six years) prior to the date of the discovery of the offence, as provided under the Electricity Ordinance. The letter also states the relevant Sesco officer that can be contacted for further clarification.
“An appeal process is available to deal with objection to the findings. This mechanism provides opportunity for customers to present any document or evidence to support their appeals.
“All cases are assessed thoroughly to ensure a fair final determination of the arrears with the customers notified of the outcome. Dissatisfied customers can commence legal proceedings,” he said.
Dr Rundi said his ministry was determined to curb the dangerous crime (power theft) which endangered lives and damaged customers’ properties including electrical appliances.
“Power theft can cause fire outbreaks and the ministry does not hesitate to take legal action against the perpetrators,” he said.