- It costs you money
- It’s dangerous
- It’s illegal
- It disrupts your service
Safety is SMECO’s top priority. We want our employees and our customers to stay safe. Stealing copper wire and other metal equipment from utility power lines and substations is dangerous, interrupting electric service and endangering lives.
Individuals who steal copper wire from the electric utility are not just stealing from SMECO—they are also stealing from every customer-member. As owners of the cooperative, customers end up paying for copper theft when the cost of repairing damage and increasing security is reflected in their electric bills.
SMECO is looking for your help. Follow the tips below to help prevent copper theft and safeguard against electrical dangers.
Report Copper Theft
To help stop copper theft, SMECO is partnering with Crime Solvers of Charles County to offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of individuals who steal copper wire from the electric distribution system in Southern Maryland.
Tips to Prevent Copper Theft
Follow these tips to help prevent copper theft and safeguard against electrical dangers:
- Never enter or touch equipment inside a substation; stay away from power lines and anything touching a power line.
- If you notice anything unusual with electric substations or facilities—an open substation gate, open equipment cabinet, hanging wire, or persons other than utility employees or contractors near the facilities—contact the local police or SMECO immediately.
- Store bolt cutters, wire cutters, and other tools in a secure location, and never leave them out while away.
- Help spread the word about the deadly consequences that can result from trying to steal copper.
A Nationwide Problem
Utilities and other industries across the nation are being hit by copper thieves.
- YouTube: Power Knocked Out by Copper Thieves
- YouTube: Copper Thief Causes Power Outage
- YouTube: Man Stealing Copper is Electrocuted