A thief or thieves who recently tampered with a live PPL Electric
Utilities transmission line near Hazleton, Pa., were
lucky: They apparently escaped without injury.
The next person who tries to steal copper or other metal
from an energized utility facility probably won't be so
Thefts and attempted thefts of metal from electrical
facilities are being reported throughout the company's
service area. Utility officials are again warning the
public: Stay away from power lines and substations. The
voltages carried by those lines and facilities will cause
death or serious injury.
"If you tamper with electrical facilities or try to remove
metal, you are literally taking your life in your hands,"
said Dave Bonenberger, the company's general manager of
Transmission and Substations. "The small amount of money
these materials would fetch at a scrap yard is not worth
the risk of electrocution or lifelong injury."
If that's not convincing enough, here are other reasons why
tampering with electrical equipment is bad news:
It jeopardizes reliable service for customers. More than
8,000 customers were left without power Friday night
(4/27) after a 69-kilovolt transmission line was
disrupted in the Hazleton area, apparently by someone
trying to steal wire.
It increases PPL Electric Utilities' costs for materials
It creates a risk of serious injury for utility field
workers who respond to damaged or compromised facilities.
"We've instructed our field employees to be vigilant and
check that facilities are intact before they begin work,"
said Carl Segneri, vice president of Distribution
Operations. "Still, these thefts have the potential to put
our employees at risk. We won't tolerate that."
PPL Electric Utilities reports attempted thefts and other
disruptions to appropriate law enforcement agencies, and
will press charges against suspected thieves. Pennsylvania
State Police are investigating Friday's incident.
May is National Electrical Safety Month. If you see a
downed wire or a piece of electrical equipment you believe
might be damaged, contact PPL Electric Utilities promptly
at 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775.) Stay clear of the wire
or equipment, and keep children and pets clear as well.
PPL Electric Utilities offers important safety information
Children, parents and teachers may find the online
Electrical Safety World at this site to be an entertaining
and educational resource. Also, the Electrical Safety
Foundation International, which sponsors National
Electrical Safety Month each May, offers safety information
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation
(NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery service to 1.4
million customers in 29 counties of eastern and central
Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best
companies for customer service in the United States. More
information is available at www.pplelectric.com.
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