Copper Theft Continues in SWEPCO Area-Thieves could be placing safety and reliability at risk

From the release:

The market for scrap metal is driving an increase in the theft of metal – especially aluminum and copper. AEP (American Electric Power) operating companies in Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas report a rise in the theft of electrical equipment, and there was a public fatality in December 2006 in Kilgore, Texas from copper theft. SWEPCO has recently investigated copper theft incidents at company facilities in Texarkana; also in Longview, Marshall, Gilmer and Henderson, Texas, and in Shreveport, La.   SWEPCO reports that thieves are even cutting into power lines and other equipment that is energized and serving customers, most recently in the New London area near Henderson, causing an outage to about 150 customers on a 100-plus degree day.  SWEPCO is asking its customers to report to law enforcement officials any suspicious activity near a utility pole, transmission tower or substation.

According to Malcolm Smoak, vice president of Distribution Region Operations for SWEPCO, this kind of activity has the potential to place public safety at risk. “A complete wiring system helps provide a safer and more reliable source of electricity,” says Smoak. “An element of protection is lost when the design of the electric delivery system is altered in an attempt to get at the metal for resale to a salvage center,” said Smoak.

Read the full release here.

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