(FILE PHOTO) Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) lost RM3.4 billion in Peninsular Malaysia due to illicit bitcoin mining activities from 2018 to 2023. -BERNAMA PIC
(FILE PHOTO) Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) lost RM3.4 billion in Peninsular Malaysia due to illicit bitcoin mining activities from 2018 to 2023. -BERNAMA PIC

SERI KEMBANGAN: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) lost RM3.4 billion in Peninsular Malaysia due to illicit bitcoin mining activities from 2018 to 2023.

Energy Transition and Water Transformation (Petra) Deputy Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said while these activities constitute a small fraction of total energy consumption, they had significant financial impact on the country and the energy sector.

"These losses, stemming solely from Bitcoin mining which should have contributed to revenue, have escalated into billions," he stated.

"Since the inception of Bitcoin mining in 2018, energy suppliers have incurred losses amounting to RM3.4 billion due to these illicit activities."

He further noted, "Additional losses from meter tampering and illegal electricity connections have resulted in annual losses ranging from RM100 million to RM200 million."

Nasrullah made these remarks to reporters following the Energy Commission's (ST) disposal of seized items at a metal disposal centre in Taman Industri Selesa Jaya, Balakong.

Present at the event were the commission's Director of Enforcement and Area Operations, Ismail Zaili Yusop, and Chief Operations Officer, Dr V Sanjayan.

Addressing the financial repercussions, Nasrullah indicated that citizens were also on the losing end as they could face tariff adjustments or related measures.

"While Petra makes initiatives for greener and renewable energy under the National Energy Transition Plan (NETR), there remain concerns about energy theft, resulting in widespread losses," he commented.

"While some perpetrators believe they can avoid detection by not using meters, TNB actively monitors excessive energy usage to combat such theft effectively."

Earlier, RM2.2 million worth of seized electrical items were disposed, including 349 bitcoin machines and 1,219 appliances lacking Energy Commission-Sirim safety labels.

The disposal followed legal proceedings under Sections 406A and 407 of the Penal Code (Act 593), involving 46 investigation papers and settlements.

The Bitcoin machines were seized during Ops Renjat, at five unoccupied premises in October 2022, where illegal direct connections without meters led to RM1.3 million in losses for the utility.

Additional electrical equipment seized in separate enforcement operations was also disposed of.