Facts: Utility-Associated Metals Theft

Since we are growing increasingly aware of the water and energy interrelationship, we thought you might be interested in the following electric utility facts:

  • -  Colorado Rural Electric Association's survey of 20 rural electric cooperatives serving 58,243 miles of power lines found 104 incidents of metals theft over three years at a cost of $291,000, with 52 percent of the metal thefts occurring at energized facilities.
  • -  Electrical Safety Foundation International survey of utilities copper theft in the United States found more than $60 million in losses and 450,000 minutes of utilities outage time due to theft.
  • -  Every year 35 to 50 deaths or injuries in the United States are associated with copper theft.
  • -  Metals thefts from energized electrical facilities often result in disruption of critical electrical services to medical, public safety and transportation facilities placing the safety of the public at risk.
  • -  National Insurance Crime Bureau recorded 25,083 claims for metals theft in 2009-2011 and found that 96 percent of the claims involved copper theft.
  • -  The labor costs associated with replacing stolen metals can be ten times the value of the metals stolen.

Prompt prosecution of utility metals thieves at the felony level would help to deter such theft and provide added protection of public safety.