Hydro One is contributing $10,000 to Crime Stoppers to help raise awareness of the impact of this type of crime, and ways the public can help identify those who engage in this unsafe and illegal activity.
Hydro One estimates copper theft has increased for the utility by approximately 1,150 per cent from 2005 to 2006 and cost the company about $1 million. According to numerous Ontario policing agencies, copper theft has become one of the fastest growing forms of crime in the Province of Ontario.
In power lines copper wire is used as a conductor for electricity.
Contact with an energized power line can result in serious injury or death from electrocution.
"This is becoming a very serious problem," said Chris Price, Hydro One's Director of Security. "These thefts threaten the safety of the general public and Hydro One staff and could negatively impact electricity reliability. We expect our partnership with Crime Stoppers, and working closely with local law enforcement will help reduce this criminal activity."
Price explained that the benefits of partnering with Crime Stoppers include the option of anonymity when reporting incidents, and rewards for providing information leading to arrests. "We believe that the partnership will increase identification of metal thieves, and those paying for stolen metal." He added that Hydro One continues to undertake investigations of copper/metal thefts, and has invested in improved security systems.
Pat Gillie, President of the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers emphasized that for citizens who fear reprisal or are reluctant to get involved, Crime Stoppers is an option for reporting information about this dangerous theft. "Calling 1-800-222-TIPS is all it takes," she explained.