Wiring theft

Power company equipment damaged by wiring theft

LLOYD Thieves stripped wiring from power company equipment near Lloyd early Friday, leaving hundreds without power for several hours, a Kentucky Power Company spokewoman said.

About 1,250 customers were left in the dark after the theft, which happened in the pre-dawn hours, Barker said.

There were reports of power and phone outages in the county Friday morning.

The thieves got into a fenced substation to steal the wiring and in the process damaged the equipment.

Among those affected was Greenup County High School, the company said.

Schools were closed in the district but Superintendent Sherry Horsley said it was because of illness.

Workers had the station back up and running by early afternoon Friday.

Police and company security forces are working to identify the thieves, who may be connected to similar thefts in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg in Ohio, Barker said.

Theft of power company wiring can be deadly and the mere act of entering a power substation is extremely dangerous, she said.”Any time you get inside the fence, you’re talking about risking your life,” she said.

Ironically, thieves may be risking their lives for little gain, because the power company now uses copper-clad steel rather than solid copper in its wiring, she said.

Where solid copper wire was worth about $3 per pound as scrap in 2017, the latest year for which Barker had figures, copper-clad steel was going for about 10 cents per pound.

There were no immediate indications that a suspect or suspects had been identified and the company asks that information on the thefts be reported to the company or local authorities.

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Mike James is The Independent's education reporter. He has covered news in Northeast Kentucky since 1996.