The Mountain Times

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GMP reports growing public safety concern as a result of increased copper theft

Copper thefts at Green Mountain Power substations are now reaching the point where thieves are threatening the lives of utility workers and the nearby public.

Over the past two months, as many as four Green Mountain Power sub-stations have been vandalized, compromising the safety and integrity of these facilities.

"Our greatest fear is that there will be an incident where a life will be lost," says Green Mountain Power safety director Matt McCoy.

"Whether it is that of a vandal, one of our employees or an unsuspecting child wandering into a substation left unsecured by thieves, these events could quickly turn into tragedies."

At one substation, the thieves cut the lock to the gate, which created a public hazard by allowing access to a dangerous facility.

Emergency outages have been necessary in some situations, interrupting service to thousands of customers in order to safely complete the repairs. The inconvenience and cost to customers are outweighed by the safety risk not only to the vandals, but to utility employees and the public.

"Every piece of wire in a substation serves a purpose in delivering electricity," McCoy said.  "The risk of death or maiming vandals expose themselves to in cutting wire from a substation is mind-boggling."
Green Mountain Power asks people to be alert to non-utility vehicles or people near substations. If you observe suspicious activity, please call us at 1-888-835-4672.