“People who try to steal copper from high voltage equipment put themselves and others in danger,” said Joseph Krempasky, Rocky Mountain Power substations manager. “The damage is expensive to repair and it is extremely problematic for those who lose their power in the middle of the winter.”
RMP officials said someone cut through a fence and removed approximately 100 feet of copper wiring at the substation.
“Crews had to shut down the substation to prevent more damage, repair equipment and to avoid the risk of being injured,” RMP officials said in a news release.
A recent report in The Wall Street Journal suggests that rising copper prices are leading to more copper thefts across the country. The consequences for stealing copper can be steep, and there have been several instances in the past two years of individuals who were seriously injured or died as the result of trying to steal copper from power substations, power poles and construction sites.
“”Damaging the electric system can cause outages and puts crews at risk as they go about their work on the local power grid,” RMP officials said. “The repairs also put additional cost pressures on Rocky Mountain Power as it works to minimize any future rate increases.”
The company is asking the public to report any information related to the recent thefts in La Sal by contacting the San Juan Sheriff’s Office at 435-587-2237. If residents see suspicious activity around power lines or electric equipment they should not confront the individuals but rather should call 911, RMP officials said.