Copper theft...
Apr 18, 2013 | 749 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Regarding your article, “Copper cable theft a growing problem,” (Times-Independent, April 4) I think most of us would agree that Central Florida is well ahead of southeastern Utah in the crime department. I am writing to share information about copper cable theft that may assist you, your residents, and your electric utility. It was a real eye-opener in our neighborhood here in Florida, and it need not have been, if communications had been better.

Our electrical power delivery used to be terrible. Naturally, we blamed the power company. However, in a “routine inspection of utility poles” about two years ago, they noted that every ground wire had been stripped off of every pole, and the problem was not confined to this little area, but was county-wide.

I felt so stupid for not knowing that utility poles require a copper ground wire going into (duh!) the ground. (The pole is in the ground, so it must be grounded, right?) Wrong. I felt better when I learned that nearly all my neighbors did not know either. We could have been inspecting our poles and ground wires routinely, but none of us knew what to look for. In this “do more with less” society, our electric company was understandably behind on its “routine inspections,” so we can’t tell how long the situation persisted, but it is not only aggravating, it’s dangerous. Houses can be set on fire if the pole is not grounded. This is the lightning capital of the nation. Yikes.

Our utility company replaced the missing ground wires with much less valuable copper that still gets the job done, and put enough staples over it to discourage even the most enterprising thief. Also, many of us check the ground wires monthly, or at least, “in passing.” We can’t expect our linemen to be out here every morning to see what some low-life has done to us during the night. The poles are numbered, so a simple phone call with that number brings out a man to put in a ground wire, and they are grateful that they have extra sets of “eyes” on the problem.

Your electric utility may want to publish a simple announcement so that citizens are informed. It would tie in nicely with your article, too. Forgive me if you are already ahead of the curve on this, and it wouldn’t surprise me, either. I wanted to share with you, just in case. Love the paper; still want to move there. Still can’t sell my house....

—Judith L. Nemsik

Silver Springs, Fla.

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