Considering the rampant illegal bitcoin mining operations and financial losses from illegal electricity tapping nationwide, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has proposed special tariffs to legalise mining operations.
According to NST, TNB chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Baharin Din said the proposal with special tariff rates for Bitcoin mining has been forwarded to the Energy Commission (EC) for approval.
“We have made a proposal with our recommendations to legalise Bitcoin mining by charging them a special commercial rate but the proposal is still being reviewed by the EC,” he said.
He added that TNB discovered 610 cases of electricity theft involving illegal bitcoin mining operators in 2018 but that the number surged to 7,209 cases last year.
“But, last year the numbers jumped to 3,090 premises being used, and the tapping was done haphazardly, with the illegal operations posing a huge risk to the premises as well as others in the vicinity, through electricity sharing.”
“In addition, the (electricity) volume these illegal miners have been tapping was also way too high and detrimental to everyone,” he said.
Baharin then said the tampering technique that the illegal miners used was quite sophisticated and a person must be technically competent to do that.
However, he said there are no safety elements included while they tap the electricity illegally for the machines and it can catch fire easily or cause a power outage.
The proposal followed a joint operation by EC, TNB, MACC, and police where they managed to foil a syndicate mining bitcoin in 998 premises nationwide last month.
A total of 18 individuals were arrested and TNB estimated the total losses due to the electricity theft at RM2.3 billion from 2018 until last year.
The syndicate, which had been in operation since 2018, is believed to have bribed TNB officers to turn a blind eye to its members who bypassed or tampered with their electricity supply.