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Wire Thieves Taking a Deadly Chance

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SALISBURY, Md . – Delmarva Power is warning the public that it is dangerous to attempt to steal wire from the company’s lines, substations and equipment yards.

“The resale value of wire, particularly copper and aluminum, is high right now. However, the price to be paid by thieves could be even higher,” said John Allen, Delmarva Power Vice President. “It is only a matter of time before luck runs out and someone is seriously hurt.”

The theft of wire from utility lines and equipment also can endanger others by leaving an unsafe condition of which utility workers and the public might not be aware. “If ground wires have been stolen or fences cut that expose dangerous equipment, anyone in the area – especially children –could be injured,” explained Allen.

Altering the lines also degrades the reliability of the system. Customers could experience uneven voltage, which could damage electronic equipment or cause blown light bulbs. There could also be an extended outage that could put businesses out of service for hours, causing them to lose revenue.

In addition to the cost of wire that is stolen and the cost to replace the lines, Delmarva Power crews have to spend hours repairing equipment and replacing the stolen wire. This is time that is not being spent on other work important to our customers. Eventually these costs are borne by all our customers in much the same way that theft in department and grocery stores affects the price of goods.

“This is a serious problem with safety and reliability consequences,” Allen said. “Safety is a core value at Delmarva Power. We are asking for the public’s help before someone is seriously injured or the electric system is undermined where a theft has occurred,” Allen added.

If you see someone that doesn’t appear to be a Delmarva Power employee working on or near electric lines and equipment, call your local police department.

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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and over 118,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware