Copper theft at four Bonneville Power Administration substations
Copper theft at four Bonneville Power Administration substations threatens power service and endangers employees.
Security officials report that a recent break-in at the McNary Substation in Umatilla, resulted in the theft of 29 copper ground wires, the substation is McNary Dam’s first point of integration to the region’s power grid.
The copper theft was discovered during a routine inspection by an employee for the utility company and it is believed the crime likely occurred sometime between April 13-16 (2018)
“This is a serious concern on several levels,” said Doug Dailey, BPA physical security specialist in the release. “The number of copper grounds stolen creates a safety issue for our transmission employees and could have caused significant damage to equipment had it not been discovered.” Officials say there was no interruption of power transmission and that they are evaluating the damage to determine what resources are needed to make necessary repairs.
The BPA Security Office is taking additional steps to further secure property, equipment and materials to minimize and prevent theft at other BPA facilities.
“We learned that this break-in is one of four similar copper theft incidents at utility substations in the area over the past couple of months,” said Dailey. “We are coordinating closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Additionally, our people have been checking other BPA substations near McNary to determine if any of those locations have been affected.”
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