KUCHING, Jan 10 — Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) operational and retail arm, Syarikat Sesco Bhd, has identified several areas deemed as hotspots, following the increase in copper theft cases reported lately, especially in remote areas targeting its electrical facilities in the state.

In a statement today, Sesco Chief Executive Officer, Lau Kim Swee, said the company’s Auxiliary Police (AP) and the police were working to increase patrols at these high-risk areas.

He said the thieves were getting bolder and more creative, with recent incidents involving vandalising of electrical equipment in broad daylight, especially at secluded areas.

“Apart from that, other initiatives taken to mitigate this dangerous crime include hardening the targets such as reinforcing security at our sub-stations and installations of closed-circuit television and alarm system at certain facilities,” he said.

Sesco said these thefts resulted not only in power supply interruptions, but also affected public amenities such as street lights and telecommunications services, and put the safety of the public as well as the thieves themselves at risk.

“For the past three months, over 20 copper theft cases were reported in the Demak Laut area in Kuching alone, with recent incident occurred over the weekend where the company’s AP foiled an attempt involving five suspects at a sub-station in Demak Laut.

Since 2015, Sesco said, it has recorded 506 copper theft cases with losses amounting to RM6.7 million, while last year, 132 cases were reported with RM3.1million in losses, a significant rise from 113 cases in 2016, where RM950,000 in losses was incurred.

“The corporation spends over RM1 million annually in mitigation measures to address this. Concerned citizens may contact SEB via its 24-hour call centre at 1-300-88-3111 should they witness any suspicious activity near electrical facilities in their neighbourhood,” it said. — Bernama