Metal theft and vandalism at power substations is on the increase. In fact it is a problem of global proportions and in some countries power generation companies are now offering rewards to bring thieves to justice.
We take a look at some of the reported incidents over the last year and how some power companies are resorting to cash incentives to try and crackdown on this type of theft.
Substation Security Breach At US Power Substation
Electrical ground wire was stolen from a West Penn Power substation at the beginning of 2017. Within a week it happened again – more wires were cut along with a conduit from utility poles containing copper wire. A few days later, thieves removed cables located behind the gears. The most worrying factor was that the thieves exposed not only themselves but also the substation crews to serious danger.
Borneo Power Substations In Copper Cable Theft
In February it was revealed that one of Borneo’s energy retailers had experienced 4 cases of cable theft at its substations within just 2 days. Local residents lost power and substation staff had been put at risk. Thieves had turned off the switch of the transformer inside one of the substations in order to cut and remove copper cable. The energy company involved said this now made 383 cases of cable theft at its electrical substations since 2015.
UK Electrical Substation Security Problems
NW England – Last year there were 250 substation thefts in Merseyside and Cheshire, with 68 of those in just one month (August). In most cases thieves left the sites damaged and potentially dangerous. With many of the substations located near residential areas, there was the risk that children out playing might wander into them before the authorities could secure them. More background on this here.
Scotland – According to a BBC report, there have been over 1,200 metal thefts at electrical substations in Scotland in the last 4 years. Apart from many instances of power cuts for local businesses and residents, the many thousands of pounds cost in repairs for the energy companies, the thefts also tragically resulted in 3 deaths.
The energy company Scottish Power, who have a stake in supplying the Merseyside and Cheshire areas, said that metal theft at its substations across the UK had contributed to them facing a bill of £18 million (GBP). Last autumn, in a bid to reduce theft at its substations, Scottish Power offered a reward of £10,000 (GBP) for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.
These are a few examples of how much substation metal theft is taking place. There has never been a more important time in the history of the energy sector to install effective substation security. Warning signs were once a deterrent but, sadly, that’s no longer the case.
Read or previous post on electrical substation security which covers power outage statistics in the USA and details an example of how our cable detection system was installed to protect a substation. Any queries, just contact us and we will be pleased to discuss your requirements and how our systems can provide the security solution you are seeking.