Sarawak Energy and the Ministry of Utilities of Sarawak have discovered an illegal cryptomining operation in Demak Lauk, Kuching that has been stealing electricity.
To date, the illegal operation has costed the power utility company losses of over RM300,000 per month. According to Sarawak Energy, this is the largest electricity theft involving cryptocurrency mining in Sarawak.
The discovery was made after a public tip-off and they have found over 1,200 cryptocurrency mining machines that are estimated to be worth about RM1.74 million along with computer accessories and modems in an unoccupied factory. The Sarawak Energy Technical team found that the operator had direct tapping cables connected illegally to an electrical distribution system.
According to the statement, the operator had been stealing electricity by connecting directly from a nearby high voltage substation. The electricity usage was not registered by the electricity meter. It also added that the electrical distribution system at the site did not meet the electricity industry and SESCO’s safety standards.
Following the discovery, the mining rigs and other computer accessories have been confiscated while the illegal direct tapping cables were also dismantled as evidence of electricity theft. Sarawak Energy has also lodged a police report on the matter.
Sarawak Energy said illegal cryptocurrency mining operations run 24 hours a day and require a large amount of electricity to power its operation. This would cause the electrical network systems to overload which could lead to unnecessary outages or low voltages that could damage appliances and affect customers residing nearby. The illegal wiring can also pose a fire and safety risk.
Further, Sarawak Energy also said they are working closely with the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the police to track down cryptomining operators that steal electricity to maximise profits at the expense of public safety. Anyone who has information of such activity is urged to contact the Sarawak Energy hotline at 1300-88-3111 or email them at customercare[@]sarawakenergy.com.
In July, Sarawak Energy had busted an illegal cryptomining operation located in a palm oil plantation in Miri. They found 44 cryptomining machines worth RM225,000 in a dilapidated wooden hut. At the moment, 1 bitcoin (BTC) is priced around RM238,000.