Metal Theft Threatens Lives, Safety and Your Pocketbook

by Pee Dee Electric Cooperative

Picture of Chairman of the PDEC Board of Trustees, Mr. Goodson

by James A. Goodson
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Thefts of copper, aluminum and bronze are on the rise, at abandoned commercial buildings, empty homes and—most dangerously—at power substations near neighborhoods. We need your help to keep our equipment safe, prevent outages and save lives.

At an electric cooperative in Oklahoma, thieves took off with about $100 worth of wire in a substation, but left behind a $1 million repair bill after a fire destroyed regulators, switches and a $600,000 transformer. Several thousand consumers were temporarily left in the dark after the incident, although the co-op worked quickly to restore power.

Who pays for the bad behavior of others? You and your fellow cooperative members. Sure, we carry insurance, but that doesn’t pay for everything.

At our Annual Meetings we always remind you, “Rates are dependent upon the cost of doing business. That, plus a contingency fund for hurricanes, etc. The rest is returned to the members in the form of capital credit checks.”

When someone steals copper or other metals from Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, they’re stealing your money.

It’s hard to understand why folks would put their life on the line for a few dollars. Many law enforcement officials believe that methamphetamine users are responsible for much of the problem.

And the damage done to our system packs a big punch, since equipment can be ruined without the protection copper provides. There’s also the potential for loss of life. The number of metal theft-related deaths continues to rise. Help us prevent these thefts.

If you notice anything unusual, such as an open substation gate, open equipment or hanging wire, call Pee Dee Electric immediately at (843) 665-4070 or toll-free (866) 747-0060. If you see anyone other than our personnel or contractors around substations or other electric facilities, call local law enforcement.

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