Sarawak Energy Reports 383 Copper Thefts In Last Two Years
Since 2015, there have been 383 cases of copper theft targeting Sesco electrical facilities. The company has spent more than RM2 million to replace stolen and damaged equipment in the last two years.
In addition to causing equipment failure, power outages and electrocution, copper theft can also cause unstable voltage, damaging customers’ electrical appliances and substation safety issues.
Four recent copper thefts in two days.
Sarawak Energy’s retail and operations arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad, recorded four cases of copper theft at its substations in two days with one case resulting in an arrest. The four incidents – one in Kuching and three in Bintulu – resulted in extensive equipment damage and localised outages which affected hundreds of customers in the two divisions.
In Kuching, a suspect in his late 20s was arrested by Sarawak Energy’s auxiliary police (AP) for stealing cables at the Samariang Jaya substation, near the Petra Jaya Fire Station on Thursday. The early morning incident caused power outage affecting around 100 customers at Jalan Temenggong Haji Gobil, Jalan Bentara, Petra Jaya Fire Station and the nearby traffic lights.
Sarawak Energy’s regional manager (Western Region) Choo Min Chong said that upon receiving complaints from customers about 6am, their technical and AP teams went to investigate. “They caught two men red-handed cutting the substation’s cables. Our security team managed to apprehend one of the men while the other escaped. The suspect was then handed over to the police and a report was lodged.
“Our technical team discovered that the switch of the transformer inside the substation had been turned off and a low tension copper cable cut. We had to isolate the vandalised portion and were able to restore supply to the affected customers at 8.45am and arranged for a generator set to supply electricity to the fire station as repair works were going on to replace the stolen cables,” he said.
There have been a number of cable theft cases recently, targeting Sesco’s facilities and disrupting power supply and causing inconvenience to customers. In Bintulu, two cases were reported on Feb 1st at Nyabau 3 and Jasa Putra Jaya substations and another at Pearl Garden substation also on Thursday. In all three cases, cables, conductors, links and grounding at the substations were stolen affecting supply to more than 200 customers.
Sesco chief executive officer Lau Kim Swee said that time and time again they continued to stress how dangerous this criminal activity could be but thieves continued to risk their lives by breaking into the substations and stealing parts of highly charged equipment.
This irresponsible act causes unnecessary power disruptions to our customers not to mention extensive damage to our assets. We will continue to work closely with the police to curb this crime and build awareness against copper theft,” he said.
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