Malaysia’s national electricity company Tenaga Nasional Berhard (TNB) is cracking down on Bitcoin miners who are illegally powering their mining operations by stealing electricity from the company. TNB officials raided 33 premises in Kuantan that were suspected of tampering with their electricity distribution boards. This tampering has cost RM3.2 million for the company.
According to the TNB’s general manager, Bitcoin miners had been illegally using electricity for the past six months. The company raided 23 premises running Bitcoin mining operations using illegal power. A further ten were alerted about the raid and they destroyed evidence of their illegal activities, a release states.
According to an official of the company, the first raid was conducted at Kampung Jaya Gading and found a miner that was utilizing 1500 Amp of power. They had bypassed the meter, which showed only 3 Amp usage.
Further investigation showed that the metered 3 Amp connection was being used to power one suction fan and a lamp. Consequently, they were only paying a monthly bill of RM 219 ($52.33 approximately) while they should have been paying RM 108, 000 ($25,806 approximately) .
The official said that all those caught in the raid would have to pay the arrears they owed. Malaysia’s electric utility company said members of the public have been urged to report Bitcoin activity in their area to the utility company through a number and email address.
Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption
Bitcoin’s energy consumption has been a cause of concern since the cryptocurrency shot into limelight as an asset class some years ago. According to different estimates, Bitcoin mining consumes as much power as the total annual consumption of some small nations. The current mining scenario represents a turn of fortunes and narrative for a cryptocurrency that came into focus as a decentralized asset meant to empower individuals against a corrupt financial system. Bitcoin mining, once an individual and solitary activity, is now an industrial and corporate behemoth with vast resources dedicated to it. Some bitcoin mining companies are even contemplating an IPO.
As the price of BTC has grown and thus the potential reward, other companies have joined the effort. According to some estimates, the bitcoin network consumes so much power that if it were a nation, it would be the 40th largest consumer of power globally.