PONTIAN: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has lost nearly RM9mil in less than three months owing to tampered meters sold by syndicates in Johor.
The scam, which according to TNB was not new, had however become rampant lately with high users such as factories being the syndicates’ main buyers.
As a result, the utility company had suffered huge losses and in Johor alone, the amount was a staggering RM9mil from Jan 1 to March 21, said state TNB general manager Mohammad Mokhtar Mohd Ali.
He said that during the period, they inspected more than 7,500 meters and found 427 had been tampered with.
“What surprised us was that even digital meters were also tampered with. Our initial investigation showed that there are syndicates behind this,” he said after a dialogue with a group of consumers organised by the Pekan Nanas assemblyman Wee Jeck Seng here yesterday.
Mohammad Mokhtar said most of the tampered meters were discovered in industrial areas, including Pasir Gudang.
“The syndicates changed the chips to slow down the speed of the meters by about 60%. These are the most expensive tampered meters, easily about RM30,000 each, and are normally found in industrial areas,” he said.
He added that members of the syndicates were believed to be electricians who had vast knowledge and equipment to alter the meters.
Mohammad Mokhtar said no one had been charged in court although tampering with TNB equipment was an offence under the Electricity Supply Act which carries a penalty of a fine of up to RM100,000 or three years’ jail or both.
“Most of the time, those found using tampered meters merely settled the case before it reached the courts,” he said.
“What we did was to back-date the bills and collect the payment from them.”