KEPCO, the state energy company in South Korea, has stated that it would commence an operation to oversee and audit firms suspected of using electricity designed for industrial and agricultural using and using it to mine cryptocurrencies.
According to the energy company, crypto miners are going to industrial and agricultural electricity because it is much cheaper. With cryptocurrency miners illegally using cheap energy, it is leading to massive losses in the income raised by KEPCO, given that most mining firms operate round the clock.
Investigating Illegal Crypto Mining Activities
According to a representative from KEPCO who spoke on the matter, “We have started a field investigation targeting customers who use electricity a lot among agricultural and industrial customers, and the related investigation will be conducted by the end of this month.”
The government of South Korea has been subsidizing electricity used for industrial and agricultural use. However, the energy company has stated that several people have been tapping into this subsidized energy to mine cryptocurrencies in secret. Mining firms in South Korea have been doing this for a while now, and this is not the first time that KEPCO has cracked down on such miners.
In 2018, the energy company stated around 38 companies have been channelling electricity designated for industrial and agricultural use and used that electricity to mine digital assets. The discovery led to investigations to uncover the miners found guilty of such moves. The crypto miners found guilty of using unauthorized energy to use crypto were fined around 500 Korean Won.
The crackdown on crypto mining firms in South Korea comes after a recent survey conducted by the energy company. Data from the survey indicated an increase in electricity rates, and an irregular pattern in power usage revealed that energy was not being used for the designated purposes.
KEPCO is not only concerned about miners taping into cheap energy. According to officials from the company, crypto mining could lead to power outages and blackouts because of overloading the power grid. The officials also stated that the amounts of illegal energy use had increased after a boom in the popularity and use of digital currencies.
A representative from the company also stated that “If caught, a penalty may be charged by adding a penalty to the unfair profit, and if the penalty is not paid, the power can be cut off.”