Indonesian Authorities Crack Down on Bitcoin Miners Stealing Electricity From National Grid

The thieves allegedly tapped into utility poles of a state-owned energy firm to power mining operations.

AccessTimeIconDec 29, 2023 at 9:51 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:15 p.m. UTC

Indonesian authorities raided ten sites suspected of mining bitcoin with stolen electricity from the national grid over the Christmas weekend.

Although Indonesia is a fast-growing crypto adopter, it’s not exactly known as a hub for mining.

However, under Indonesian law, electricity theft is considered a criminal offense with a penalty of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to twice the value of the unpaid electricity.

Indonesia’s neighbor Malaysia has made several arrests in relation to electricity theft by crypto miners, but this is among the first reported cases in Indonesia.

At the raided sites in Medan, North Sumatra, authorities found 1,314 bitcoin rigs, and 26 individuals were detained.

The suspects allegedly stole electricity by tapping into utility poles of state-owned electricity company PLN poles over the past six months, worth around 14.4 billion Indonesian rupiah ($100,000) in losses to the state.

That may seem small, but it amounts to around 10 million kilowatt hours at recent local energy prices and is equivalent to the yearly energy consumption of around 7,500 individuals in the country.

An official from PLN told a local news outlet Thursday that the company will be working with authorities on similar cases.

Sandali Handagama contributed reporting.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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Shenna Peter

Shenna Peter is a Senior Editor at CoinDesk Indonesia.