THE detached house was described as "huge", had 10 air-conditioners, a vast fish pond and a mini garden fitted with a fountain that "was operating round the clock".
KUCHING: A check on the average monthly electricity bill of this posh home by officers of state power company, Syarikat Sesco Bhd, found it was between RM100 and RM200 per month, an "unrealistically low average".
This raised suspicion, prompting Sesco to inspect the house.
They uncovered one of the biggest thefts of electricity in a residential area in the city.
But what surprised them most was the residential area, in Stampin Tengah, is home to some of the city's more affluent residents.
A quarter of them were stealing electricity, Sesco charged.
In a statement, Sesco said the percentage of meter tampering detected at "a well-known high-end housing area occupied by affluent and wealthy customers, is 25 per cent, which is alarmingly high for a residential area".
In their inspection of the suspicious "posh home", officers found the house to have been installed and connected with an illegal underground T-joint cable to divert the flow of the electricity directly into the electrical appliances without passing through Sesco meter.
Sesco said the illegal cable was "carefully laid and well hidden below the cemented ground to prevent it from being detected by Sesco inspection teams".
However well the illegal connections are concealed, Sesco said, it had the technology and device to detect them.
Sesco said it had ordered the house owner to break the floor, remove the illegal Tee-joint and have his meter shifted from the house to the electricity pole outside the house compound to prevent re-tampering.
The house owner now faces criminal charges as Sesco said they would lodge a police report on the theft.
He faces a fine of up to RM100,000, or imprisonment of five years, or both, if he is found guilty under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.
Apart from that area, Sesco said "a high percentage" of electricity theft was also discovered in two other affluent neighbourhoods -- homes of politicians, wealthy businessmen, lawyers and senior civil servants.
"Sesco will monitor the situation and analyse the electricity consumption pattern closely.
"Any abnormality detected will trigger further inspection on site."
Sesco said the other areas inspected during the one-week exercise were the residential areas of Tabuan Dayak, Stutong, Taman Gita, Kampung Tupong Ulu and Siol Kandis -- homes to the city's less affluent.
A total of 40 Sesco workers, escorted by 20 auxiliary policemen, checked more than 700 meters.