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PPL Corporation : PPL Electric Utilities says: Stay smart and stay clear of electric lines and facilities

05/03/2012 | 12:11pm US/Eastern

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 fortunate.

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 and labor.
  • 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 at www.pplelectric.com/safety. 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 at www.esfi.org.

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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Note to Editors: Visit our media website at www.pplnewsroom.com for additional news and background about PPL Corporation.

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