Copper Thefts Could Lead To Higher Energy Costs

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Copper theft is a growing trend across the region and now some eastern Kentuckians may have to pay.

Jackson Energy Cooperative see so many copper thefts, they receive weekly reports of thefts in their service area.

Though they are working quickly to replace the line with something other than copper, they say it's not quick enough.

It's only April and officials with Jackson Energy Cooperative say copper thefts have already cost the company more than 60 thousand dollars.

“We're not profit electric cooperative. So when thieves are stealing from Jackson Energy, they are stealing from our members,” Carol Wright, V.P. Of Engineering & Operations, said.

The power company is replacing copper lines with aluminum or copper clad steel lines, but officials say the process could take years.

“It's a lot harder to replace it than it is to steal it. A lot more time a labor involved in replacing it,” Terry Isaacs said.

“We've had numerous outages from this. We've had recently 3500 members in Lee an Owsley Counties out of power from copper thefts,” Wright said.

“The copper thefts of course are dangerous because some people have been electrocuted stealing copper from electric companies because the lines are still energized,” Trooper Don Trosper said.

With the cost of copper in the rise, Wright says she doesn't see an end in sight to these thefts. If it doesn't end, their customers could be left to pay the price. “If copper theft continues to increase at a dramatic rate that it has, then basically it could affect the rates.”

Wright says any suspicious behavior around their poles or lines should be reported to state police.

Jackson Energy Cooperative is offering a 25-hundred dollar reward for any information leading to an arrest.

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