The Syarikat Sesco Berhad and the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities in Malaysia, along with the police, recently raided an illegal crypto-mining facility at the Uni Central Commerce Centre, for electricity theft. The Syarikat Sesco Berhad is the utility arm of Sarawak Energy Berhad.
After several months of monitoring and public tips, a magistrate issued a search warrant for a special group to raid the premises for suspicion of power theft. The suspicion mainly arose when the business owners of the facility blocked the main area of the stairwell from public access, using a grille door covered in aluminium sheets. The entrance was kept locked as well, thus shutting the Sesco personnel out from the area where all the meters were kept.
It was discovered in the raid that the business did not have any electricity meter, and the supply was directly tapped from the main supply wiring to the distribution board of the group located on the second floor, which was distributed through the entire premises of the business location. This tapped system was hidden behind a layer of concrete to avoid detection. However, that didn’t prove to be enough as Sesco technicians are specially trained to detect such abnormalities and tamperings.
The power stolen from the direct lines was pretty huge, estimated to cost around RM10,000 a month, considering that it is used all day to keep the mining servers running.
All of the extra wiring has been seized from the premises for evidence, and a police report was filed immediately after the raid. The owners were also called to help with the raid, and will also be brought to trial.
According to Sesco’s files, this is the first crypto-based power theft case. Earlier this year, 12 meters owned by operators in Miri were seized.
Sesco is now in the process of getting these issues to trial with help from the chamber of the State Attorney-General.
Illicit crypto-mining activities and outlets have been on the rise in the state recently, and Sesco has decided to upgrade surveillance and to keep close monitoring on such places along with the EIU and the police to keep these crimes at bay.
Sesco has sent out an advice to landlords to always keep note of their tenants’ business activities. This will not only help prevent crimes, but will also keep the owners away from criminal implications while offences are committed on their premises.