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Ice factory awaiting trial for electricity theft caught again
Published on: Friday, June 28, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: An ice-processing factory in Beaufort which was awaiting trial for power theft offences is caught again during a three-day raid on commercial premises suspected of power theft.

SESB Deputy General Manager (Distribution) Ridwan Saham said the ice-processing factory was among three commercial premises found to be involved in power theft during a joint operation by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and Energy Commission which ended on Thursday.

"This was the second time tampered meter was found in the premises where previously SESB estimated a total loss of RM30,000, while this time around we estimated loss of RM165,000," he said, adding that they are still in the process of being charged in court for the first offence.

He said the operation was conducted in three districts, namely Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort and Kota Marudu, where seven premises were raided.

"Tampered meters which indicate power theft activity were found in two premises, namely a fish ball processing factory in Likas and the ice-processing factory in Beaufort," he said, adding that SESB's estimated total losses were RM270,000.

The third premises, he said, involved a hotel in the city. However, the estimated losses have yet to be determined as they are still conducting investigations.

He said the Energy Commission will conduct investigations under Section 37(3) of the Power Supply Act 1990 and those found guilty will be charged in court, adding that SESB will put in a claim of loss.

He said those found guilty of tampering with SESB meters or illegal power usage can be charged and fined for not more than RM100,000 or imprisoned for a period of up to three years, or both.

"We have made an agreement with the Energy Commission whereby we will conduct raids on suspected premises once every three months.

"We will identify such premises based on their electricity bills and meter reading reports after which we will report to the Energy Commission before going ahead with the raid," he explained.

On another development, he said SESB records an annual loss of RM3.5million to power theft involving squatter houses particularly in concentrated locations, namely Kota Kinabalu, Semporna, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau.

"As of today since 2008, SESB has conducted a total of 865 operations in these five locations," he said, adding that a total of 172 operations were conducted last year.

"Power theft activities not only cause losses to SESB but also jeopardise the safety of those using the electricity.

Thus, it is important to curb such activities because we do not want any danger to fall on civilians, particularly where electricity is concerned," he said.

Also present were Energy Commission West Coast Sabah Regional Head Muhammad Sharul Azam Abdul Rahim and Energy Commission Promotions and Communications Senior Executive Noor Haniza Noordin.

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