A file picture of stolen copper cables found at a recycling centre in a joint operation by Sarawak Energy and the police in 2017.

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded six power cable theft cases since January this year with three in Bintulu, two in Miri and one in Kuching.

Meanwhile, a total of 129 cases were reported throughout the state last year, causing a loss of RM1.3mil in damaged equipment.

Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) stated that most of the areas targeted were secluded facilities, including substations, shop lots and quiet roads throughout the state.

“Despite intense efforts to combat this by enhancing security measures, the problem is still prevalent throughout the state.

A transformer cable box that was vandalised by thieves in an attempt to steal copper cables.

“Public safety measures such as visible danger signages and caution notices at all SEB electrical facilities are ignored by the thieves.

“SEB encourages the public to immediately report incidents or sightings of vandalised electrical facilities as well as sightings of suspicious characters near the facilities.

“Their call will expedite response time and minimise inconvenience from outage and help to curb this dangerous crime,” SEB said in a statement yesterday.

Among the common modus operandi used by the thieves were physically entering premises by destroying locks at the facilities and cutting through wire fencing to reach high voltage electrical equipment.

“Upon gaining access to these facilities, they will cut the high voltage cables for its copper. They also climb up electrical poles or towers to reach the copper equipment.

“These actions will normally contribute to sudden power trips, which are safety measures to protect our grid system.

“Some prolonged power interruptions have been a result of severe equipment damage caused by the thieves,” it continued.

SEB further said that to mitigate this problem, its utility arm Syarikat Sesco Berhad had stepped up night patrols, installed remote sensors to alert of any unauthorised entry at its facilities, and continuously spread awareness among the public through various media and public service announcements.

A file picture of stolen copper cables found at a recycling centre in a joint operation by Sarawak Energy and the police in 2017.

“SEB is also working closely with the police in joint operations through Ops Lusuh to carry out checks at recycling centres to stop trading of stolen copper cables to second-hand dealers. The police have made several arrests and prosecuted several individuals for theft,” it added.