Energy Commission will not consider TNB's proposal for special cryptomining tariff

KUALA LUMPUR: The Energy Commission has decided not to consider the special tariff rate for cryptominers as proposed by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

"The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry and TNB have been informed about the decision, with several justifications," the commission told the New Straits Times.

It said it wanted to ensure that any intiative would not affect electricity supplying costs in Malaysia.

"Any proposal involving special tariffs or reduction of electricity tariffs will lead to increased electricity supply costs.

"All electricity consumers will then bear these increased costs."

The commission said it wanted to avoid any matters that might raise discrimination among consumers.

"If this proposal is taken into consideration, it might cause discrimination between cryptominers and other consumers.

"As the regulatory body for electrical energy, we want to avoid showing signs of bias or discrimination towards consumers in the same category."

It also said it wanted to avoid setting a precedent for other sectors to apply for special tariffs or tariff rate reductions.

"Until today, the Energy Commission has received a number of applications from different sectors, such as agriculture and transportation, to reduce electrical tariffs.

"Even these requests cannot be considered for now," it said.

Since 2018, about 8,000 enforcement operations have been carried out in the peninsula to address electricity theft.

"The Energy Commission will continue to beef up enforcements from time to time to eradicate electricity theft involving cryptocurrency miners," it said.

On March 1, TNB chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Baharin Din said a proposal had been drawn up with special tariff rates for Bitcoin mining and this had been forwarded to the Energy Commission for approval.

He had said that the proposal was drafted due to rampant illegal bitcoin mining operations and financial losses from illegal electricity tapping nationwide.

Baharin had said they first discovered that there was electricity tapping for Bitcoin mining in 2018. At that time, there were 610 cases.

"But last year, 3,090 premises were used for electricity tapping for Bitcoin mining. The illegal operations pose a risk to the premises as well as others in the vicinity, through electricity sharing," Baharin said.

Cryptocurrency is currency in digital form that is not overseen by a central authority.

The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was created by an anonymous group of computer programmers in 2009.

Bitcoins can be traded for real currency, such as US dollars or Euros, through certain websites.

Cryptomining is extremely energy consuming. On Friday, the New York Times reported that seven of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the United States are expected to use almost as much electricity as the homes in the city of Houston, Texas, based on data compiled in a probe done by congressional Democrats.

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