FROM THE SNOHOMISH COUNTY PUD: Friday evening, copper thieves struck facilities owned by the Edmonds School District, including Edmonds District Stadium, stealing copper wiring and forcing the football game between Lynnwood and Meadowdale to be postponed to Saturday afternoon. In Stanwood, a separate copper theft of an overhead electrical line caused a small outage and resulted in a late-night repair call for a Snohomish County PUD line crew.
The recent copper thefts are a reminder it’s never a good idea to tamper with electrical equipment. Not only is copper theft costly to the utility and illegal, it is also extremely dangerous.
“Stealing copper wire from any of the PUD’s facilities or our private customers can result in death or severe injury,” said PUD Senior Safety Specialist Paul Kiss. “Considering how little thieves make off of it, it’s not worth the risk to their lives or damage it can cause.”
The number of copper wire thefts in Snohomish County has decreased in recent years. In 2017, copper thieves struck 15 PUD substations, causing power outages and significant replacement costs. This year, though the PUD has experienced a slight increase of copper theft to distribution lines, the utility has yet to have a substation impacted by copper thieves.
The decrease in thefts is due to security improvements around PUD substations and other electric system infrastructure, including installation of strong wire mesh fencing, security cameras, and regular patrols by security personnel. The PUD also de-incentivized copper thieves by making it standard to replace solid copper wire with a copper-steel wire that has little to no value to metal recyclers.
Here are tips to keep customers and the electrical system safe:
- Never tamper with electrical equipment or the electric system. If you have questions about the electrical system or equipment at your home or business, please call the PUD at 425-783-8272. If you see a fallen power line, stay at least 30 feet away and call 9-1-1.
- Help us keep the power on. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity around electrical equipment and infrastructure. If you see someone acting suspicious around PUD substations, poles, transformers or other electrical equipment, call 9-1-1 or 425-783-1000.
- Be wary of scams or workers posing as PUD staff. If a PUD employee visits your home or business to work on electrical equipment, they will be wearing a PUD uniform and have proper identification. As a customer, ask for the person’s PUD identification or call 425-783-1000 with your concerns.
PUD MEDIA & PUBLIC RELATIONS
Aaron Swaney (425) 783-1776