Sunday, March 18, 2007

Copper Theft, What's the Danger To Us?


Geocaching Electrical Safety

Let me explain yet another reason why you should not hide geocaches on power utility equipment (ie, power and lighting poles, transformers, switching cubicles, streetlight cabinets, etc.)

A recent rise in the worldwide price of copper has sparked a massive demand for the metal and led to a dramatic increase in the number of copper-related thefts across North America and the other continents.

Try typing “copper theft” in Google. You’ll come up with 1,060,000 results.
Thieves are stealing copper wire from many sources.(ie, church roof thefts(link), plumbing pipe, wire) This includes copper wire from power companies. Copper wire has been stolen from substations, fallen wire and equipment from poles after storms, and the copper "ground wire" in power boxes just like the boxes that may be in your front yard. A lot of these thieves have been killed in the process. Link

The “ground wire” electrically connects equipment to the ground to protect the general public and employees who work on the equipment. ie, If a power box has an internal wire come loose and the wire touches the inside of the metal box, electricity will run from that box through a copper “ground wire” to the ground.Thieves are stealing these "ground wires", taking them to scrap yards for cash.

**Remember, when the “ground wire” has been stolen and/or the electrical equipment has been tampered with, a hazard may exist when a person touches the electrical equipment. The person who touches it may be the path to ground for electricity and may be electrically shocked.**

Power Utilities everywhere are very concerned about this situation. Please read these links...

Link 1
Link 2

Please do not to try to hide or find geocaches on electrical equipment. There are so many other places we can hide our caches.

Thanks for listening,