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Dozens of shop owners shocked by high electricity bills

KUALA LUMPUR (March 7): Thirty-six shop owners are complaining about being presented with extremely high unpaid electricity bills by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

The amounts ranged from RM100,000 and RM500,000, reported The Star.

The report revealed that the shop owners who owned properties at Wangsa Maju, Semenyih and Saujana Rawang have been slapped with backdated bills after their units were raided by TNB since August last year

It was found that the electricity meters at the premises have been tampered with.

Apparently most of the shop owners “were told by their property agents that their tenants were only renting it for computer storage purposes and some to provide server services”.

“In Saujana Rawang alone, we have eight cases and all eight owners apparently rented out to the same tenant, who is still contactable and also admitted they illegally tampered with the meter,” said shop owner W A Wong who is also representing other owners in Saujana Rawang.

He also told the English daily that the tenant used their shoplots to host computers for bitcoin mining purposes “24/7”.

“We have seen photos that TNB took during a raid. The shops were filled with servers, and the wiring was damaged,” he said.

Another shop owner Choong Ruey Linh from Wangsa Maju said they already lodged three police reports but no action could be taken “due to lack of proof”.

“When I went to TNB for an explanation to ask how my bill can amount to RM297,000, they said that if I want to know, then I have to find out in court.

“This just does not make sense as I have a right to know how the calculations were done and how far back it has been backdated,” he said.

He added that he only started renting out his shop in May last year and electricity was cut in November.

The Star’s report also stated that “bitcoin mining is not an illegal activity, but meter tampering is, and action can be taken by the authorities by backdating the electricity bill for up to five years prior to the most recent bill”.

Meanwhile, Wangsa Maju MP Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew wanted “the authorities to take action against the tenants and not sue the landlord”.

“It is unprofessional and irresponsible of them to shift the blame to innocent property owners who are clearly the victims here.

“There is clearly an element of organised crime going on here, so I hope the authorities will look at the bigger picture and take action against these syndicates who are tampering with the meter,” she told the daily.

She also asked TNB to “be fair and transparent, by revealing how the calculations are done as the current fees are too high”.

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