It seemed that Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) may have gotten fed up with illegal electricity tapping amongst cryptocurrency miners. For that reason, the company wants to charge a special tariff for cryptocurrency mining, with a proposal already sent to the Energy Commission (EC) for approval.
TNB chairman and CEO Baharin Din said that illegal electricity tapping for the purpose of crypto mining was first discovered in 2018 with 610 cases. However, that number had quickly grown to 3090 cases in 2021, with 528 people arrested and RM54 million worth of equipment and items seized.
More recently through Ops Power, authorities managed to cripple 998 Bitcoin mining premises belonging to a syndicate that ran its operations by regularly bribing TNB technicians and has caused estimated losses of RM2.3 billion since 2018. Furthermore, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has also frozen 126 accounts with a total value of up to RM4.47 million and seized 1157 mining machines worth RM2.3 million in the nationwide joint operation.
While cryptocurrency is not legal tender in Malaysia, electrical tapping seems to be the only criminal element of mining operations although it posed risks for nearby residents as the machines were susceptible to catching on fire or causing a power outage. Last month, TNB Distribution Network head Wan Nazmy Wan Mahmood said that crypto mining itself isn’t actually illegal and interested individuals and companies can submit an application to TNB as their operation will be categorised under the commercial category.