(Yicai Global) April 25 -- Police officers in Tianjin, one of China’s four state-level municipalities, have confiscated 600 bitcoin mining machines after the local power grid reported a property for stealing electricity.
Officers discovered that the premises’ electricity meter had been tampered with to avoid billing, state-owned news agency Xinhua reported. The local police called the sting the biggest power theft case in recent years.
The power company had noticed a sudden increase in line loss (energy wastage) on a single electricity link to peaks of 28 percent, often a result of an increase in load current. In the US, line loss is generally a single figure percentage, though wastage varies by country.
Bitcoin mining is a very power-consuming process and mainly relies on high-performance hardware. The cost of running 600 mining machines would be tens of thousands of dollars a month, but police discovered the premises’ electricity meter had been tampered with to avoid billing.
Officers also seized eight high-power fans in the bust, and are investigating five suspects. Another has been detained.
Editor: James Boynton