KUCHING: An attempt to steal electricity via underground bypass cables at a light industrial premises was uncovered in an operation at Rock Road here recently.
Sarawak Energy Berhad said the operation was conducted together with the Ministry of Utilities and Telecommunication and the police.
It disclosed that suspicion of electricity theft arose when SEB’s technical team observed abnormally low electricity meter readings during routine meter inspections at the rented facility.
“After securing a warrant, the team conducted an investigation where they found direct tapping cables used to steal electricity hidden underground.
“The direct tapping cables were seized as evidence and the owner of the facility was called in to facilitate investigations,” the company said.
Based on the load measured at the site, the facility’s actual monthly bill was estimated to be RM2,200, however, the monthly bill was only RM500 per month.
Consequently, SEB lodged a police report as it is believed to have incurred losses of about RM61,200 the past three years from the unrecorded electricity usage.
The utility company pointed out that stealing electricity through meter bypassing and tampering using direct tapping cables hidden underground, is now more commonly found throughout the state.
SEB said continuous inspection by well-trained and well-equipped meter inspection technicians are ongoing to uncover this illegal power theft method.
Power thieves will be charged under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance which carries a fine up to RM100,000 or a jail term up to five years, or both if convicted.
“The public should not trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity use or allow owners to enjoy unlimited usage of electricity through meter tampering.
“Landlords are also strongly advised to conduct background checks on potential tenants and be alert of their activities to avoid being implicated in electricity theft crimes committed at rented premises,” it said.
Should there be any information regarding power theft activities and service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity consumption, the public can contact Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at email@example.com.