The price of copper is going up and is now about $2.67 a pound for scrap. That means copper theft is on the rise and some are targeting Nebraska Public Power District substations. Individuals have been cutting fences or climbing over them at three locations in southeast Nebraska and have taken eight inch copper rods used to direct stray current to the ground. It also minimizes equipment damage.
Mark Becker is the supervisor of corporate media for NPPD and says this is a significant safety issue as it can potentially cause power outages and is especially a danger to utility workers. Becker says, “It puts those people at risk because the copper is used as a safety element at the substation and they may not know it has been take and will put them at risk as well.”
NPPD is also concerned of loss of power to customers, especially during this heat wave when they rely on air conditioning for safety and comfort. It also can be costly for businesses who rely on electricity for income.
NPPD is asking the public for help and be an extra pair of eyes and ears and be on the lookout for potential theft of copper wiring from their transmission poles and substations across the state. The ones targeted are in rural areas. Anyone who sees suspicious activity at substations are urged to call law enforcement and give them a description of the individuals and vehicles involved. NPPD service vehicles are well marked with bright orange bumpers. Others have logos identifying them as an electric utility vehicle.