PPL Electric Utilities says they are turning up the heat on metal thieves.
The utility announced a new program today that offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone stealing copper wire or other materials from substations or other company locations.
“We’re starting this reward program to help stop copper thefts from substations, service centers, even existing power lines,” said David Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for the utility. “Repair costs certainly are a factor, but ultimately, this is about safety. No one except qualified personnel wearing the appropriate protective equipment should be inside substations or be in contact with any of our facilities.”
The company says thefts from substations can put customer service reliability at risk.
The utility is taking steps on its own, including bolstering substation security, to deter theft, and continues to reach out to salvage and scrap dealers throughout its 29-county service territory in central and eastern Pennsylvania and beyond.
As part of its anti-theft efforts, the utility will ask salvage and scrap dealers to display reward posters in their businesses.
“The costs of repairs in the aftermath of these thefts are ultimately shared by all customers,” Bonenberger said. “The worst aspect of this vandalism and theft, however, is that someone could get seriously hurt or killed. Damaging electrical facilities also puts PPL Electric Utilities workers, and our contractors, at risk.”
Bonenberger said the company, along with PPL Corporate Security, works with law enforcement to investigate metal thefts.
“We need the eyes and ears of the community, including metal scrap dealers, to help turn the tide,” he said. “We hope the reward will spur tips to law enforcement and deter those who might be considering stealing copper.”
Those observing suspicious activity around PPL Electric Utilities facilities are asked to call their local police department.
The decision on whether to issue a reward, and the amount of the reward, will be determined by PPL Electric Utilities.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.