KUALA LUMPUR: An elderly man was shocked when he received a notice from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) claiming he owed nearly RM700,000 for electricity usage.
Wu Tuan Chiang, 71, said TNB claimed that the electricity meter of the shoplot he had rented out had been tampered with.
"I have been renting the shoplot at Bandar Puteri Puchong to an IT solutions company, supposedly registered in Ipoh, Perak, since 2019," said Wu.
"On Dec 16, TNB sent me a notice claiming that the meter had been tampered with and it was claiming RM695,598.10 in electricity charges," he added when speaking to reporters at the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department on Tuesday (Jan 4).
He said he believed that the shoplot was used in a cryptocurrency mining operation.
"I have tried to contact the tenant since Dec 16 but failed. When I visited the property it had already been cleaned out and was vacant," he added, saying that he lodged a police report on the matter.
Meanwhile, Ch'ng Yi Quan, 24, said he received a letter on Dec 22 claiming he owned a TNB account for an address at Teluk Panglima Garang.
"It claimed that the meter at this address had also been tampered with and was demanding RM77,033.25 in electricity charges," said Ch'ng.
"The only problem here is that I have never registered any shoplot for electricity supply," he said, adding that he believed someone had misused his personal details to register the account.
He claimed that he lost his identity card last year and suspected that the person who found it used it for this purpose.
Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said they received 10 similar cases so far involving at least RM1.75mil in losses.
"In some of these cases the syndicates use bogus real estate agents to secure tenancy so that they cannot be traced.
"Our advice is that all landlords must be proactive in ensuring that their property is used only for legitimate businesses.
"They must also only deal with registered real estate agents," he said, adding that the department would contact TNB for discussions on the matter.
Department legal adviser Datuk Theng Book said TNB meter readers must check meters thoroughly during the monthly readings.
"It does not make sense that they read these meters monthly but only detect tampering after long periods," he said.