Rural Missouri - April 2012 - (Page 4)
C O M M E N T S
They steal from you
electric co-ops on the Associated system. Those with inforn a lonely stretch of blacktop just outside the mation to share can call the toll-free hotline at 1-855-COPcity limits of Sedalia, Gary Coulter points out PER9 (855-267-7379). the telltale signs that copper thieves have struck Members have a vested interest in stopping this theft, again. Nearly every pole owned by Central MisCentral Missouri’s Eckhoff says. “We need to let people souri Electric Cooperative on this stretch of road is missing know this is co-op money they are stealing, which in its ground wire, and that has Coulter, line superintendent turn is your money that they are stealing. for the distribution cooperative, concerned. You’ve got a vested interest in stopping Just weeks before, crews had replaced Those with infor- this because it does cost the co-op’s botthis wire, which is important to the safety tom line, which means less margins going of the linemen who work on these lines mation to share back to the member.” and the reliability of the system. Coulter He says it’s hard to figure exactly how estimates repairs from copper theft on can call the tollmuch the thefts are costing cooperatives. Central Missouri’s lines alone in a typical Besides labor and materials, there’s the month cost an average of $20,000 in labor free hotline at expense of keeping a larger work force and $2,800 in materials. because of the employees diverted to “The cost of repairing the wire, it does 1-855-COPPER9 repairing damage to the lines. There’s also add up,” says Central Missouri’s Manager a significant safety issue. Darren Eckhoff. “You are talking pennies (855-267-7379) “They are a means of safety,” Eckhoff that they get for the wire and thousands of says of the ground wires that are being takdollars for us to replace it.” en. “Those pole grounds are a way to return energy to the But there’s more to the issue than money. “I view this ground. We haven’t had any serious issues yet, but I know as primarily a safety issue for the public and our workers,” they are coming.” says Don Shaw, manager of Central Electric Power CoopThe copper theft problem also is causing reliability erative in Jefferson City. He says thieves put the public and issues. During the ice storm of 2007, for example, thieves employees alike at risk when they remove materials that stole reels of new wire destined to repair the storm damfunction as part of the safe operation of power lines and age. This delayed the restoration of power to thousands of substations. When this happens, even a substation fence people struggling to stay warm in their homes. could become energized, putting anyone who comes into In November, thieves tried to make off with 10 feet of contact with it at risk of being shocked. copper wire from a subThe situation is the station owned by White same around the state, River Valley’s power supwith virtually every elecplier, KAMO Power. The tric cooperative reporting theft knocked out power copper theft problems. In to 1,960 co-op members fact, the Electrical Safety — and sent one suspect to Foundation International the hospital with electriestimates there are more cal burns. than 50,000 copper thefts While two suspects from electrical utilities were arrested in this case, each year. Worse, the it took hours to repair the same people who are damage and return service attacking electric cooperato members. tive lines also are hitting Law enforcement offirural churches and farms. cials blame drug addicts Now the electric co-ops for most of the thefts. in Missouri are striking Meth addicts in search back, and they are hopof their next fix prey on ing members will help in whatever is easiest to their efforts to stop the steal, and these opportunthieves. Recently, the six ists often turn to unguardtransmission cooperatives ed homes in their quest in Missouri — Central for easy money. This creElectric Power, KAMO ates a dangerous situation Power, M&A Electric for honest people. Power, Northeast Missouri Copper theft in MisElectric Power, N.W. Elecsouri is a Class C felony. tric Power and Sho-Me Most of those caught Power Electric cooperastealing copper and other tives — have joined forces metals are sent away for with wholesale power a long time. However, supplier Associated Eleccatching them in the act tric Cooperative to reward remains the problem. anyone who helps send If you see someone these crooks to jail. photo by Jim McCarty tampering with electric A reward of $1,000 will cooperative equipment, be given for information Garrett Lairmore and J.R. Kenyon from Central Missouri Electric call the Theft Reward that leads to the arrest Cooperative, Sedalia, replace wire stolen from one of the co-op’s Hotline. The reward will and conviction of those poles. When thieves make off with a few dollars worth of wire from be yours, but the money who steal or vandalize a pole, it often leads to thousands of dollars in repairs for electric equipment owned by co-ops. It’s also a threat to safety for the public and employees alike. saved belongs to all.
“Devoted to the rural way of life”
April 2012 Volume 64 / Number 4 Jim McCarty, editor email@example.com Jason Jenkins, managing editor firstname.lastname@example.org Heather Berry, associate editor email@example.com Kyle Spradley, field editor firstname.lastname@example.org Megan Schibi, editorial assistant email@example.com Mary Davis, production manager firstname.lastname@example.org Angie Jones Dusty Weter Co-op page designers
Electric co-ops need your help to stop copper thieves
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Copyright 2012, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Call for reprint rights. Rural Missouri is published monthly by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Barry Hart, executive vice president. Individual subscription rate: $9 per year or $21 for three years, taxes and postage included. Group rate for members of participating RECs $3.99, taxes and postage included. Delivery as specified by subscriber. If not specified, delivery will be by periodical class mail at subscriber’s expense. Periodical Class postage paid at Jefferson City, MO, and additional mailing offices.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2012
Rural Missouri - April 2012
Table of Contents
Something to gobble about
Best of Rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
The hardest fun ever
Rural Missouri - April 2012
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