Copper wire stolen, vehicles broken into at Elmsdale NSP sub-station

An RCMP vehicle. (Healey photo)

ELMSDALE: A second break-in at the Nova Scotia Power sub-station in Elmsdale has Nova Scotia Power officials issuing a plea that those doing so face the risk of electrocution.

Jackie Foster, spokeswoman with NSP, confirmed the break-ins at the sub-station. It was the second such incident in a week at the plant on Elmsdale Road. Vehicles on the site were also broken into in the second incident, she said.

“There was a break in and theft of copper wire at our substation in Elmsdale,” said Foster in an interview with The Laker News. “Power to customers wasn’t disrupted in either case, however, every time a repair needs to be made as a result of these thefts, our crews are taken away from doing other meaningful work to improve the reliability of our system.”

She said while they do see this type of theft throughout the year, there has definitely been an increase over the last several months with a couple dozen cases. 

“They’ve taken place in every region of the province,” she said.

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Foster said since July, repairs at sub-stations as a result of thefts of copper have cost NSP over $100,000. 

“That would include repairing or replacing equipment that has been damaged or stolen,’ she said. “We continue to work with local police/RCMP by sharing what information we can about these thefts.

“We have also been replacing copper cables with low value alternative metals to detract thefts and have also increased video monitoring in our substations.”

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The theft of copper wire can cause significant injury, even death, said Foster.

“Live wire can carry more than 25,000 volts of electricity so there is a very high risk of electrocution,” she said. “These thefts can cause outages – or our crews might have to interrupt service in order to make repairs.

“Theft of copper wire can also increase risk to public safety, by generating an unstable electrical current for customers in the area and create very dangerous working conditions for our crews.”

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East Hants RCMP S/Sgt. Cory Bushell said police received a complaint of theft from the sub-station in Elmsdale.

“The culprits broke into the compound in order to steal copper,” he said. “Entering and moving about inside a Nova Scotia Power sub-station is extremely dangerous. There is a serious risk of electrocution.”

He said anyone with information on this matter to call the East Hants RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).