SEB and Police Uncover Electricity Theft Activities at Crypto Mining Hub in Miri

Sarawak Energy technical team and police gain access to suspect premises following an outage in the area.

KUCHING (April 26): Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and police have recently uncovered power theft activity at a cryptocurrency mining center operating in a residential unit located at Jalan Jee Foh in Miri.

Sarawak Energy, in a statement, said today that the discovery was made following a report of an outage in the area caused by a burnt cable due to system overload.

He deemed this situation as “unusual” because the systems were configured to meet the region’s load demand.

“Further investigation revealed that one of the houses in the area was consuming an unusually high amount of electricity, which raised suspicions of electricity theft. The team immediately alerted the police for a joint inspection.

“During the inspection, 30 units of mining rigs and other equipment used to mine cryptocurrency were found. Sarawak Energy technical team also found direct pick cables directly connected to servers , bypassing the electric meter.The electric meter was also found tampered with with drop wires and magnets attached.

“All cryptocurrency mining rigs, equipment, direct pick cables and electricity meter were dismantled and seized by police as evidence of electricity theft. The owner was also called to testify to the seizure of the items. The premises are currently rented to a tenant with the electricity account still maintained in the name of the owner,” he said.

Cryptocurrency mining servers are power-hungry machines that run 24 hours a day, often requiring cooling units to prevent them from overheating. Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in electricity theft can easily overload the capacity of the electrical system, increasing the risk of short circuits, damaging appliances, causing fires and even loss of life.

Sarawak Energy said it would have incurred losses of RM11,400 per month or RM410,400 over three years in unrecorded electricity consumption in this particular case.

Billing records also revealed that the tenant was paying an unreasonably low electricity bill of RM50-60 per month as most of the electricity consumed was unregistered. A police report has been filed and all parties, including the property owner, will be called to assist in the investigation.

“Electricity theft is a criminal offense under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years in prison if of guilt,” said Sarawak Energy.

Sarawak Energy has reminded customers that it is both illegal and dangerous to tamper with cables to under-record electricity consumption. In cases where electricity is stolen for energy-intensive activities such as cryptocurrency mining, it can also lead to outages in surrounding areas, causing unnecessary inconvenience to neighbors.

Together with the Ministry of Utilities and Telecommunications (MUT) and the police, the utility company will continue to track down electricity thieves who steal electricity to maximize their profits at the expense of public safety.

“Members of the public are reminded not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity consumption or allow the property owner to enjoy unlimited electricity use through tampering counters. Meter inspection teams are trained to detect various methods of electricity theft, including tampered meters, fake electricity meter covers and underground direct taps as part of Sarawak Energy’s efforts to combat the theft of electricity.

“Landlords are also advised to check the backgrounds of potential tenants, be alert and watchful of their activities to avoid becoming involved in power thefts committed at leased premises,” Sarawak Energy said.

To report suspicious activity related to electricity theft and service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity consumption, members of the public can contact Sarawak Energy’s Customer Service Center at 1300-88-3111 or email an email to [email protected]

All information received will remain strictly confidential.

Sara H. Byrd