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Call for help to stop copper thieves

Media Release

SA Power Networks has asked residents in the Adelaide Hills to keep a sharp look out for thieves stealing copper from vital local substations.

This follows break-ins at Lobethal and Angas Creek substations on Wednesday 22 June.

“The thieves took copper worth only a few hundred dollars,” said Head of Corporate Affairs, Paul Roberts.

“But they put their lives at risk and could have caused significant outages for local customers. Also, if they are caught they face a significant fine and up to two years jail.”

Mr Roberts said SA Power Networks offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to a conviction of those responsible.

Under the Electricity Act, thieves face up to two year’s jail or a $10,000 fine for interfering with electrical infrastructure.

“We are working closely with SAPOL and encourage anyone with information on copper theft to contact police by calling CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000,” said Mr Roberts.

“Someone must know something, whether it is information about who is breaking into the substations or even who is buying the stolen copper. These people are risking their lives and seriously compromising the electricity network and the safety of our employees and the community,” Mr Roberts said.

“Just stepping into a substation site is dangerous, as you do not have to touch equipment to be electrocuted. They not only are risking their lives, but their actions endanger the public and could lead to serious disruption of electricity supply. Repairs are also very costly.”

“We encourage local residents who live around substations to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Anyone working in substations would have a clearly-marked SA Power Networks vehicle and park at or adjacent to the gates of substations.”

SA Power Networks has more than 400 substations uses a range of strategies to try to deter copper theft including high-security fencing and electrified fencing at some sites; video surveillance; and security patrols.

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