Malaysian State Records Largest Number of Power Theft Cases Linked to Crypto Mining

Author: CoinSense

Power theft in the Sarawak state of Malaysia for crypto mining has been a growing problem for past several years. Recently, three covert crypto mining operations, suspected of electricity thefts, were uncovered in shophouses and residential homes in Miri region.

Representatives from the Sarawak police and Sarawak Energy plant revealed estimated monthly losses of 30,000 Ringgit ($6,276) for the utility company, for stealing electricity to power Bitcoin mining operations.

Per a recent release, the investigation team has seized over 70 cryptocurrency mining servers and other devices found on site.

Further, they discovered that some crypto mining operators directly tapped electricity cables to avoid meters and thus obtain power illicitly.

The investigations are still in process under the country’s Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, the report added. If convicted, the violators will face a maximum fine of 200,000 Ringgit ($42,000) or up to 5 years in jail.

Sarawak has one of the most competitive electricity tariffs, driving crypto operators to set up mining operations in the state. However, per reports, these operations often involve non-standard and unsafe wiring posing serious risks including short circuits, fires, appliance damage, and even loss of life.

“Sarawak Energy remains committed to ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication (MUT) and law enforcement agencies to combat power theft, particularly in cases involving cryptocurrency mining, which has resulted in significant financial losses for the company.”

Over Half of Crypto-Linked Power Thefts Found in Sarawak’s Miri Region

Per the investigation team, over half of crypto-related electricity theft cases in Sarawak were found in the region of Miri.

“Out of the 260 cases uncovered in Sarawak since 2018, approximately 60% (156 cases) were discovered in Miri,” it noted.

Last September, Sarawak Energy identified two illegal crypto mining sites, causing recurrent power disruption in a few areas. These electricity thefts have resulted in a monthly loss of around 4 million Ringgit ($837K) for Sarawak Energy.