For Immediate Release
SALISBURY , Md. - Delmarva Power reminds the public of the dangers of attempting to steal copper and other wire from the company's lines, substations and equipment yards.
"The theft of copper and wire from utility lines and electrical equipment can be life threatening to those who are attempting to remove it and can endanger others by leaving an unsafe condition," said John Allen, Delmarva Power Region Vice President. "If ground wires have been stolen or fences cut that expose dangerous electrical equipment, anyone near the area could accidently get injured or killed. Safety is a core value at Delmarva Power. We are not only concerned for our employees' safety, but for the safety of our customers."
Altering the lines also impairs the reliability of the electric distribution system. Customers could experience uneven voltage, which can cause power outages as well as damage to electronic equipment and light bulbs. In fact, approximately 37,000 customers recently experienced a power outage that was the result of theft and vandalism at a substation in Bethany Beach, Del.
Theft of company materials means that Delmarva Power crews must spend many hours repairing equipment, safeguarding facilities and replacing stolen wire. The repair and replacement cost of damaged equipment far exceeds the scrap value received for the wire. "Unfortunately, the time spent to repair and replace equipment due to wire theft is time that is not being spent on other important work for customers," Allen said. "Eventually, the costs of replacing and repairing damaged equipment are borne by all Delmarva Power customers in much the same way that theft in department and grocery stores affects the price of goods."
To address the copper and wire theft, Delmarva Power is implementing additional security measures. "Anyone stealing materials from Delmarva Power property and scrap dealers who knowingly purchase these
materials will be subject to criminal charges," Allen said. "We also are asking for the public's help before someone is seriously injured or the electric system is undermined by these illegal actions."
Anyone with information about electric utility copper or wire theft is encouraged to contact Delmarva Power (1-800-375-7117) or local authorities.
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 and Maryland and over 122,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware .