People are stealing energy in Malaysia. Why? Because they’re looking to get rich through crypto mining, and now the national utility company in charge of electricity use has a few ideas it’s working to implement that will purportedly combat this growing crime wave.
Malaysia Looks to Stop the Theft of Its Energy
The company – known as Tenaga Nasional Bhd. – says it’s looking to impose a new tariff on bitcoin mining operators. The idea is to ensure that nobody can get away with using energy illicitly and to put a halt on illegal crypto mining. The country’s Energy Commission has also stated that it is issuing a new memorandum that will encourage bitcoin miners to buy energy legally.
Baharin Din – the chief executive officer and president of Tenaga – said in a statement:
The irresponsible perpetrators are doing it at the expense of the security and reliability of supply for the public at large.
He has also stated that illicit use of electricity in bitcoin mining can create fire hazards, and the nation has only seen the problem of energy theft increase heavily over the years. In the nation of Malaysia, the process of crypto mining itself isn’t illegal. In fact, the country has only seen this industry grow heavily over time.
However, what isn’t allowed is tampering with meter installations or bypassing said meters to gain illegal connections, which is how many of these bitcoin miners are gaining access to their much-needed power. In 2021, there were more than 7,200 incidents of illegal electricity use and theft in Malaysia. Compare this with the mere 610 incidents that occurred in the year 2018.
Tenaga is working hand in hand with Malaysia’s anti-graft agency, law enforcement, and the Energy Commission as a means of stopping power thieves in their tracks. As many as 18 individuals were arrested between 2018 and 2021, and as much as $550 million in electricity is alleged to have been stolen during this time.
How Can Technology Growth Help?
According to Paul Lim Pay Chuan, the managing director and group chief executive officer of Malaysian power company Pestech, technology advances can potentially help narrow in on more power thieves and bring illicit energy use for mining to a screeching halt. In an interview, he commented:
Implementation of the likes of smart metering, meter data management systems, analytic software, and digital power quality products will greatly enhance the availability of critical power demand and supply information. That may give the utility such up-to-date data for greater monitoring, planning, and control over the entire ecosystem, which includes the prevention of power theft.
Over the years, crypto mining has grown into a vast and financially stable industry, though there have been many arguments from analysts, traders, and industry heads alike that the process needs to become greener as a means of protecting the planet.