KOTA KINABALU: A total of 11 premises around the city, Inanam, Lok Kawi and Penampang were found to have been operating with stolen electricity supply, following raids on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 5 and 6).
According to Energy Commission deputy director Shafie Mohamed, the 11 premises included massage parlours, a cold storage facility, sundry shops and car tyres and accessory shops.
“These premises were found to have had their electric meters tampered with, and some had additional cables to bypass the system,” he said during a press conference here Thursday (March 7).
He said these actions have caused Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) losses of more than RM220,000.
SESB senior general manager (asset management) Norhizami Abu Hasan said these premises were suspected of meter tampering for a period between four and 30 months.
“Meter tampering is when the actual usage of electricity is not recorded and thus they don’t pay what they are supposed to,” he explained.
The operators of these premises are now being investigated under the Electricity Supply Act.
From the raids, the authorities seized equipment including meters and cables.
The operators could be fined up to RM5mil and jailed up to 10 years if they are found guilty of electric theft.
Norhizami said these operations are ongoing in Sabah and Labuan.
“Meter tampering and adding cables to the main electric output will result in short circuits and fires, not only on the premises itself, but also to neighbouring structures,” he said.
He also urged the public to be wary of so-called electricity saving devices and to get accurate information on the authenticity of the devices before installing them at their premises or houses.
SESB has conducted 280 inspections and recorded 75 cases involving RM243,608.54 losses over the first two months of this year alone.
SESB has a special team tasked with handling scaled surveillance, followed by an enforcement team to inspect premises.