Iowa utilities are reporting an increase in thefts from their electrical substations and storage areas. It’s a problem nationwide attributed to higher prices for copper and other metals. Mark Douglas, president of the Iowa Utility Association, says it’s not only costly to the utilities – it’s also a safety issue.
Douglas says deaths have occurred in some other states from theft attempts, and while there haven’t been any deaths in Iowa, they’d like to keep it that way. He’s encouraging Iowans to help them monitor utility sites. "If they see any suspicious activity around electric utility facilities," Douglas says, "we’d like them to report it to local authorities."
Douglas says all utilities have experienced increased thefts over the past two years. Douglas says the cost of the materials that have been stolen is in the range of several hundred thousand dollars. He says some utility companies are adding more security around their facilities. Douglas says that might include cameras, and additional locks and fencing.