Power utility companies in Malaysia pay hundreds of millions of dollars in electricity theft every year, but one company wants to change that.
Electricity theft in Malaysia for cryptocurrency mining is quickly growing into a costly problem, but Tenaga Nasional Bhd, the local utility regulator, offered two ideas for curtailing the practice.
In order to combat electricity theft, the utility company wants to impose a special tariffs on the operators of Bitcoin mining. It was suggested that the energy regulator would encourage the miners to apply for a license.
Bitcoin mining booming in Malaysia
There has been a spike in illegal mining of cryptocurrencies in Tenaga. The trend is expected to continue according to the President and Chief Executive Officer. Some miners steal electricity by modifying a meter installation or by creating an illegal connection in Malaysia.
The minister of energy and natural resources said that the increase in cases was worrying as it affects not only the energy industry in terms of value but also the stability of the electricity supply system. Short circuits and fires could result from running the mining computers with non-standard fuses and electrical loads over the capacity of power cables. Citizens with information on suspected or actual electricity theft can bring it to the attention of the authorities.
Tenaga has been working with police, the Energy Commission, local municipalities, and Malaysia’s anti-corruption industry to catch electricity thieves who steal from miners. More than $550 Million dollars of electricity has been stolen by eighteen people so far.
On March 1-2, 2022, Tenaga and the Klang Municipal Council worked together to crack down on illegal activities. There were raids on three premises in Bandar Puteri and Bayu Perdana which resulted in the arrest of 12 men and the seizure of RM65000 worth of machines.
Fighting electricity theft with technology
A senior executive at a power company says technology can be used to fight theft. Valuable information on the supply and demand of power will be provided by smart metering, meter data management systems and digital power quality products. This will reduce theft.
The abnormality in electricity readings was detected by the meter readers of Tenaga. The authorities could have moved in faster with the help of the automated monitoring of meters.
Eleven Malaysian sites raided in 2021
In July of 2021, Sarawak Energy raided a site in Miri after three homes were burned down because of electricity theft. Over one thousand rigs were steamrolled. In Malaysia, 11 premises were raided in 2021.
If you are involved in the theft of electricity by interfering with Tenaga’s equipment, you could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Malaysia contributes over the increase in mining activity can be attributed to the increase in the price of digital assets.
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