SaskPower is reminding residents of Saskatchewan about the dangers of stealing copper from power infrastructure, a problem that cost the Crown corporation over $41,000 in 2020 and endangered lives.
“People need to realize that copper theft doesn’t just take a financial toll on SaskPower customers – it’s also a significant public safety threat,” said Kevin Lalonde, Director of Distribution Operations and Maintenance. “Copper acts as a grounding material for power infrastructure, and when this material is removed, there are real risks of electrocution as a result.”
Beyond the immediate risk of electrocution to the person removing the copper wire, tampering with grounding materials can lead to power outages to homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure – such as hospitals and nursing homes. There is also an added cost to repair and replace damaged equipment.
Removing copper wire also puts SaskPower employees at risk, as it creates conditions for unintentional electrification of the ground and surrounding objects. A person contacting the pole or coming near the area could be seriously hurt or even killed.
SaskPower is taking steps to deter would-be copper thieves, including increased remote video monitoring of SaskPower facilities and replacing stolen copper wire with copper cladding. Copper cladding looks and performs like pure copper wire but has no monetary scrap value.
Customers can report damaged SaskPower equipment to the Outage Centre at 310-2220. If anyone has information about a copper theft, or any other vandalism to SaskPower facilities, they are encouraged to contact their local police service or, if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).