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Crypto Mining Blamed for Record UK Electricity Theft

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Electricity theft in the UK has surged by over 75% since 2012 due to crypto mining, cannabis farms, and increases in the cost of living.
  • In 2021, West Midlands Police uncovered an illegal Bitcoin (BTC) mining operation bypassing the electricity supply using over 100 devices.
  • Electricity theft for crypto mining also is also a problem for Malaysian authorities, with around $2 million worth of electricity stolen in 2021.
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Reports claim electricity theft has increased by over 75% since 2012 in the United Kingdom. Crypto mining, cannabis farms, and high cost of living are believed to be the three primary reasons for electricity theft.

While cryptocurrency mining is a rewarding business, it is energy-intensive with requirements of high electricity power. Hence, various bad actors have found loopholes to mine crypto by stealing electricity.

Is Crypto Mining Causing a Surge in Electricity Theft?

According to the BBC, there were over 3,500 cases of electricity theft in the UK during 2021-2022. The publication explained the electricity theft:

“Electricity thefts are where meters are tampered with or bypassed to avoid paying for energy.

“It can leave live wires exposed and will often involve bypassing fuse boxes, increasing the risk of appliances overheating or catching fire and death.”

While cases have increased by 75% since 2012, there was a huge surge in electricity stealing activity after the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK.

crypto mining electricity theft
Electricity theft rises. Source: BBC

Charlie Pugsley, the Assistant Commissioner at London Fire Brigade, believes that cannabis farming and crypto mining are behind the surge in the cases of electricity theft. In 2021, the West Midlands Police uncovered an illegal Bitcoin (BTC) mining operation where over 100 devices were connected to bypass the electricity supply.

Read more: How To Build a Mining Rig: A Step-by-Step Guide

Of course, crypto mining is an energy-intensive business that requires huge capital investment to carry out the business operations. With rising mining difficulty and hash rate, some legit crypto mining businesses are at the risk of becoming unprofitable.

Electricity cost is one of the highest recurring expenses for mining businesses. But criminals are bypassing this cost by stealing electricity. Earlier this week, BeInCrypto reported that criminals were running Bitcoin mining rigs inside the Tocorón prison in Venezuela, using the prison’s electricity.

Besides the UK, electricity theft by miners is proving a big issue for Malaysian authorities. In March 2022, BeInCrypto reported that crypto miners stole around $2 million worth of electricity in 2021.

Read more: What Is Cloud Mining? Get Started With This Beginners Guide

Do you have anything to say about electricity theft for crypto mining or anything else? Write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTok, Facebook, or X (Twitter).

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya excels in delivering SEO-optimized crypto news under tight deadlines. Previously, as a Growth Marketer at Sporty and a Community Consultant at Totality Corp, he significantly boosted community engagement and followers. Harsh also crafted engaging content for top crypto influencer Shivam Chhuneja, blending meme references for an educational yet fun experience. His versatile skills make him a notable figure in crypto journalism.