Break-in and copper theft at Newfoundland Power’s Botwood substation
By Anthony Capkun
November 26, 2011 – “Public safety was placed in jeopardy,” said Newfoundland Power when it discovered a break-in at its Botwood substation. About 3500 customers in Botwood and surrounding communities lost power shortly after 6 a.m., September 19, as a result of “deliberate actions that caused outages affecting three of Newfoundland Power’s distribution lines”.
The act of vandalism involved stealing copper grounding wire attached to high-voltage equipment. “This type of activity creates a serious safety risk for Newfoundland Power employees, contractors, the general public and the thieves themselves,” added the utility.
Gary Smith, Newfoundland Power’s VP of customer operations and engineering, called the incident extremely disturbing. “This action was taken without any regard for the consequences.”
Newfoundland Power crews were immediately dispatched to the area, and successfully restored power to all affected customers in just over two hours. While no injuries have been reported, Newfoundland Power and the RCMP are taking this incident very seriously. An investigation is already underway.
“Our customers rely on us to deliver safe, reliable service, every day,” said Smith. “Besides the inconvenience to our customers and the cost to the company, our primary concern is the potential for injury or even death.”
Newfoundland Power will pay $5000 to any individual for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons, responsible for this crime. Anyone with information regarding this incident, or any act of theft or vandalism to electrical equipment, is encouraged to contact their local Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary detachment or Crime Stoppers.