Power theft in Malaysia by block reward miners continues to be a big challenge for the country’s authorities. In the latest incident, two miners have been arrested on charges of stealing over $600,000 worth of electricity over a period of three years.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s national power company, raided the miners’ premises in the southern state of Johor, local newspaper The Star reports. In the raid, conducted jointly with the state police and the Energy Commission, the authorities found that the miners had made illegal power connections that bypassed the meter, allowing them to access the power for free.
The power company had incurred RM80,000 ($19,300) in losses per month from the installation, the Energy Commission’s regional director Nazlin Sadikhi told the newspaper. In one of the premises, the miners had been running 100 mining rigs for three years nonstop, she claimed. In the second, 48 rigs had been running for around two years.
Despite the extensive mining activities, the two premises had only been paying between $7 and $14 a month for power costs.
The culprits are looking at 10 years in jail, a RM 1 million ($240,000) fine, or both.
Sadikhi cautioned property owners to be on the lookout for such illegal activities on their properties and to report immediately any suspicious activities. She said, “In most cases, the owners of the premises were in cahoots with the cryptocurrency mining operators. They have similar operation methods where they have illegal wiring installed to the mining machines to illegally draw electricity supply.”
Illegal power connections by block reward miners have spiked in the past three years in Malaysia. According to the national power company, 90 premises have been raided this year, bringing the total to 288 raids since 2018. There have also been 50 raids conducted by Serawak Energy Berhad, a regional power company, in the past two years.
As CoinGeek reported, authorities arrested five block reward miners in August in connect with yet another instance of power theft. The culprits had reportedly stolen $59,000 worth of electricity every month to power their equipment.
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