People are stealing energy in Malaysia. Why? Because they want to get rich from cryptocurrency mining, and now the national utility responsible for electricity usage has some ideas in the works to implement that will allegedly combat this growing crime wave.

Malaysia wants to stop the theft of its energy

The company, called Tenaga Nasional Bhd. said it is seeking to impose new tariffs on bitcoin mining operators. The idea is to ensure that no one gets away with illegal energy use and to stop illegal cryptocurrency mining. The country's energy commission also said it is issuing a new memorandum to encourage bitcoin miners to buy energy legally.

In a statement, Tenaga's CEO and President Baharin Din said.

Irresponsible perpetrators are sacrificing the security and reliability of supply to the general public.

He also said that the illegal use of electricity in bitcoin mining could pose a fire hazard and that the country has only seen a sharp increase in energy theft over the years. In Malaysia, cryptocurrency mining itself is not illegal. In fact, the country has only seen the industry grow significantly over time.

However, tampering with meter devices or bypassing said meters to obtain illegal connections is not allowed, and that is how many of these bitcoin miners are getting the power they desperately need. In 2021, there were over 7,200 incidents of illegal electricity usage and theft in Malaysia. Compare this to the 610 incidents that occurred in 2018 alone.

Tenaga is working hand-in-hand with Malaysia's anti-corruption agencies, law enforcement and the Energy Commission to stop power thieves in their tracks. Between 2018 and 2021, as many as 18 people have been arrested and up to $550 million in electricity has allegedly been stolen during this period.

How can technological growth help?

According to Paul Lim Pay Chuan, managing director and group CEO of Malaysian power company Pestech, technological advances may help narrow the scope of more power thieves and bring an abrupt end to the use of illegal energy for mining. In an interview, he commented.

The implementation of smart metering, metered data management systems, analytics software and digital power quality products will greatly improve the availability of critical electricity demand and supply information. This may provide utilities with such up-to-date data to better monitor, plan and control the entire ecosystem, including preventing power theft.

Over the years, cryptocurrency mining has grown into a large and financially stable industry, despite the many arguments made by analysts, traders and industry leaders that the process needs to become more environmentally friendly in order to protect the planet.

Tags: cryptocurrency mining, energy theft, Malaysia