Illegal bitcoin mining activities have increased by more than 400% over the past 4 years
by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by TMR FILE
TENAGA Nasional Bhd (TNB) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) will be working closely with each other to counter illegal bitcoin mining activity which causes huge losses to both the energy industry and the country.
Illegal bitcoin mining activities have increased by more than 400% over the past four years which involved 610 cases in 2018, followed by 1,043 cases (2019), 2,465 cases (2020) and 3,091 cases in 2021 whereas TNB lost more than 4.5 billion kilowatt hours during this period.
TNB president and CEO Datuk Baharin Din and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani met at the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters on March 29 to discuss these issues as well as effective methods on how to overcome them.
Also present at the handover ceremony were the Criminal Investigation Department (JSJ) director Datuk Seri Abdul Jalil Hassan, TNB chief distribution network officer Wan Nazmy Wan Mahmood, TNB global business solution and chief officer Ahmad Hushairi Ibrahim and TNB head of corporate communications Shukreen Ma.
Baharin believes that this collaboration would make a positive impact in TNB’s efforts to combat electricity theft activities which involve both commercial and industrial users.
“Bitcoin mining activities that fraudulently consume electricity not only have an impact on TNB, but also indirectly on the people and the country.
“Apart from causing damage and fire to TNB’s installations, this bitcoin mining activity affects consumers when the electricity supply is cut off,” he said in a statement.
The IGP also expressed his gratitude towards TNB for their support and collaboration in order to curb these illegal miners throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
Illegal bitcoin mining activities which interfere with metre installations can cause various incidents including supply disruptions due to overloading, leading to fires.
When these activities have not been monitored for more than 24 hours and used excessively, it can cause short circuits in addition to the use of non-standard fuses or not using any fuses and loads exceeding cable capacity.
Moreover, illegal connections no longer show the actual electricity consumption on metres, which affects the electric supply stability. When the demand exceeds the capacity, businesses and people’s comfort would be jeopardised.
Therefore, this joint operation to combat activities which violate the Electricity Supply Act 1990 also involves the Energy Commission and local authorities.
PDRM and TNB’s partnership began in 2020 and have been proven effective after the police managed to arrest a total of 627 individuals and seized goods worth RM69.8 million during raids.
“PDRM would like to express its highest appreciation to TNB for the contribution given.
“The vehicles will be used by the JSJ to intensify efforts to combat electricity theft for bitcoin mining activities throughout the country,” said Acryl Sani.
Prior to this, TNB joined forces with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to crack down electricity theft due to bitcoin mining.
This operation has resulted in the arrest of 18 individuals involved in 7,209 cases since 2018.
The covert operation has also enabled MACC to freeze 126 bank accounts worth RM4.47 million involving 97 individuals and 29 companies. Of the 18 masterminds of the syndicate arrested, one of them had 500 units of shop houses rented for illegal bitcoin mining activities.