copper wire used in power line

When it comes to wiring substations, there are two choices of wire: copper and aluminum. Copper wiring is the preferred choice to use in substations as it’s not only an excellent conductor, copper wires are also easier to work with, seldom require repairs, and are very versatile. The biggest problem with copper wiring, however, is that it's frequently stolen.

Why Copper Wires are Stolen

Copper is extremely valuable and it's surprisingly easy to steal. It was reported that the sale of 500 ft of copper wiring thieves stole from a New York subway station most likely netted the thieves $1000. The current value of copper is $3 per pound of copper wiring. The value of the wiring is just one reason thieves target copper at substations: copper wires are easy to find, easy to transport, and easy to sell. It's estimated that the nationwide theft of copper is a $1 billion industry.

When thieves decide to target substations, they frequently steal copper ground wires. Once the ground wires are gone, the substation is vulnerable to lightning strikes and power surges which can lead to widespread power outages.

The Cost of Stolen Wires

The loss of the copper wiring is expensive. Not only does the power company have to pay to replace the actual wiring, additional expenses include:

  • The cost of labor
  • Money lost because of a power outage
  • Cost of property damage

One Kansas power company reported that stolen copper wiring cost them $150,000. When added to the expense of dealing with animal damage done to power stations, power lines, and transformers, it's difficult for power companies to cover their expenses while also providing consumers with affordable electricity.

While Critter Guard might not be able to protect your copper wiring from thieves, our Line Guard and Pole Guard systems can help drastically reduce the costs of animal damage to substations, power lines, and transformers in your area. For more information on how Critter Guard can help protect your power, contact us today.