Power theft for bitcoin mining is an increasing concern in Malaysia. However, the national utility has a few suggestions for curtailing the behavior.
Tenaga Nasional’s senior executive announced on Thursday that the company had suggested a special rate for bitcoin mining firms in order to combat power theft. It also indicated that the Energy Commission encourages bitcoin miners to register for lawful energy supply.
Tenaga, whose largest stakeholder is Malaysia’s national wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, is seeing an increase in the number of incidents where energy is being used illegally to mine cryptocurrencies. In an interview, the president and CEO Baharin Din stated that he expects the number to climb.
Cryptocurrency mining – an energy sucking activity
Cryptocurrency mining, a time-consuming and energy-intensive computational process used to produce bitcoin and other tokens, has spread like wildfire throughout the world as the value of digital assets has skyrocketed.
While various attempts have been made to make the process more ecologically friendly, it is still considered hostile in many cases.
Cryptocurrency mining is not against the law in Malaysia. However, some miners steal power by interfering with meter installation or bypassing the meter and establishing an unauthorized connection.
According to Tenaga, there were 7,209 energy theft cases by illicit bitcoin miners in 2021, up from 610 in 2018.
Tenaga has been collaborating with Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency, police, the Energy Commission, and local governments to apprehend power thieves, particularly bitcoin miners.
According to Baharin, 18 people were detained between 2018 and 2021 for an estimated 2.3 billion ringgit (US$550 million) in energy theft.
According to Paul Lim Pay Chuan, managing director, and group chief executive officer of Pestech International, technology can also assist a Malaysian electrical power technology business.
“Implementation of the likes of smart metering, meter data management systems, analytic software, and digital power quality products will greatly enhance the availability of critical power demand and supply information,” he said.
“That may give the utility such up-to-date data for greater monitoring, planning, and control over the entire ecosystem – which includes prevention of power theft.”
Given that bitcoin mining is illegal in Malaysia, it’s unclear how they would execute the idea if it passes.
Overall, digital currency legislation in Malaysia is still a contentious issue. Malaysia’s Deputy Finance Minister Yamani Hafez Musa recently stated that cryptocurrencies are not a financial alternative.
According to their government sources, digital currencies have not demonstrated the characteristics of a worldwide currency.