Thursday, March 21

Supermarket chain busted for stealing electricity

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Sesco team checks the meters of a supermarket in Sibu Jaya. — Photo courtesy of Sesco

SIBU: Sarawak Energy’s utility arm Syarikat Sesco Berhad’s close surveillance on power theft activities has led to another raid involving a local supermarket chain in Ulu Sungai Merah and Sibu Jaya recently.

The executive operation was carried out by Sesco’s technicians and auxiliary police after they obtained a search warrant from a magistrate’s court here.

Similar tampering method was discovered at both premises, whereby the meter covers and security seals were disturbed, enabling tampering to the electronic components inside the meters.

This resulted in the meters registering less power reading in their monthly bills.

Police reports have been lodged for further investigation of both outlets.

All the tampered meters were sent to the meter laboratory in Kuching for further analysis, which will be used as evidence in court.

The supermarket chain, which is popular for its super low prices is included in Sesco’s close supervision list for repeated power theft offences, particularly in Sibu, Sarikei, Miri and Bintulu.

Its outlet in Bintulu was found stealing power several times over the past few years while the case involving its outlet in Sarikei happened last December.

This is the second offence involving the two outlets in Sibu.

Sesco has opened investigation papers for all the offences and are working together with the Electrical Inspectorate Unit
(EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities and State Attorney General Office to prosecute the operators in court.

For the previous three offences involving the supermarket outlet in Sarikei, civil claims were filed against the operator, with the court ruling in favour of Sesco. The operator was instructed to pay a total of RM199,000 in bill arrears to Sesco.

The company (Sesco) is intensifying its efforts to mitigate the increase of power theft cases especially at commercial premises by doubling its inspections and executive operations throughout Sarawak, and will continue to work closely with the police and EIU.

Stealing electricity is a crime that not only endangers lives but can also damage customers’ electrical appliances and even cause fire to the premises.

Those found guilty of stealing electricity can be charged under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail.

Sarawak Energy reminds the public not to trust any service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills and allowing business owners to enjoy limitless electricity usage.

The service providers are duping business owners into committing a crime, who would be held responsible for power theft.

Sarawak Energy also seeks public cooperation to continue reporting suspicious electricity theft activities via its dedicated hotline at 082-443535.

All information will be treated strictly confidential.