Scottish Power sets aside £20,000 for rewards to stop metal thefts

One of Scotland’s largest power firms has set aside £20,000 to offer rewards for information which lead to metal thieves being caught.

Scottish Power said about 20 incidents had been reported across central Scotland in just over two weeks.

These include thefts at Milngavie, Dalry, Shotts, Falkirk, Kilbarchan, Larkhall and Slamannan.

In one incident, 1,500 homes suffered a blackout after a truck hit a power line brought down over a road.

Guy Jefferson, network operations director at Scottish Power Energy Networks, said: “Metal theft is one of the biggest threats to the safety of the electricity network, and the impact of these crimes can be devastating.

“In recent years we have witnessed house fires and damaged electrical appliances in homes.”

‘Horrific burns’

He added: “One man died recently attempting to steal copper from an electricity pole in Lanarkshire, and others have suffered horrific burns, loss of limbs and scarring.”

Scottish Power said there had been more than 850 metal thefts on its network since January 2011.

One incident last year from a substation in Greenock resulted in two serious house fires and more than 200 properties suffering a blackout.

In 2011, a botched cable theft in Glasgow saw a 30-minute power outage for 50,000 properties in the city’s south side.

Mr Jefferson added: “We continue to increase our own security measures, and work closely with the police and other industries affected by this crime.

“I’d urge anyone who spots suspicious behaviour near our power lines to report what they have seen to the police.”

Source BBC

Collaborative efforts help combat metal thieves

Reports of metal theft have reduced by around 50% across the Midlands this year.

The number of thefts from the electricity distribution network has also fallen. Western Power Distribution (WPD), which manages the electricity power network for the region has reported a significant reduction with 251 incidents so far this year compared to 495 in 2012.

But WPD Security manager Peter Lowe says there can be no room for complacency: “Safety is our number one priority, which is why we have put a raft of measures in place to deter metal theft, but we have to remain vigilant.

“Some people are still prepared to dice with death in spite of the extremely high voltages involved with our equipment, and for very small reward. In doing so they put at risk the lives of our engineers who have to repair and replace infrastructure that may have been left in an unsafe condition, and the lives of innocent members of the public who could become victims,” he said.

To deter thieves, WPD has stepped up security with CCTV, anti-vandal paint, electric fences, patrols, intruder alarms and by applying the forensically traceable solution Smartwater to its equipment.

It has also forged close links with police and scrap metal dealers – publishing a booklet and posters to help them easily identify WPD cables and equipment.

As an active partner, WPD sits on four regional Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) metal theft groups and helps with anti-metal theft operations and educational and enforcement visits to scrap metal dealers.

WPD recently opened the doors of its Tipton depot as a venue for the West Midlands group which comprises of West Midlands, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Warwickshire and British Transport Police. Over eighty officers took part over two days of training which included presentations from industry and culminated in a tour of WPD’s state-of-the-art engineering academy where officers could see, in a safe environment, the types of electrical assets that were being targeted.

Source: Western Power Distribution

“There is no doubt that our partnership with the police has led to a significant reduction in thefts but the problem still exists and we will maintain our resolve to combat the thieves,” said Peter.

Chief Inspector Ricky Fields heads up the regional metal theft group. He said: “By working together with neighbouring forces, government and industry we are taking a comprehensive approach to metal theft and, in turn, trying to stay one step ahead of criminals across the region.

“We patrol hotspot areas and work closely with the owners of vulnerable buildings, such as churches and power stations, to provide crime prevention advice.

“We are also running Operation Tornado, a British Transport Police-led initiative from the Association of Chief Police Officers, which requires all scrap metal dealers in the East Midlands to comply with stringent rules when it comes to buying scrap.

“We regularly stage ad-hoc roadside operations in the Midlands in a bid to keep thieves and handlers on their toes and send the message out that no time or place is safe to commit crime on our watch.”

To report suspicious activity or any information about metal theft and handling contact the Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Source: Western Power Distribution

Electricity substation metal theft reward offered

A REWARD of as much as £10,000 is being offered to anyone who can provide information to help convict thieves who steal metal from electricity substations.

A new Copped It advertising campaign by ScottishPower Energy Networks highlights the potentially fatal consequences of thefts in and around substations and power lines. A maximum reward of £10,000 will be given to any member of the public whose information leads to the conviction of someone stealing metal from ScottishPower.

The campaign has been launched in response to a surge in thefts and attempted thefts of metal, with 1,435 such incidents recorded at the company’s substations since January 2011, ScottishPower said. According to the firm, this has resulted in 140,000 homes put at increased risk of damage, 50,000 homes in Glasgow losing power for 30 minutes in November 2011 and the death of a 43-year-old man in July this year after an attempted theft from a substation in Lanarkshire. Around 11,000 hours have been spent on repairs and reinforcements, ScottishPower said.

ScottishPower Energy Networks is the licensed electricity distributor for central and southern Scotland and for Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire, with 30,000 substations, 40,000km overhead lines and 70,000km underground cables. Frank Mitchell, chief executive of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “The worrying reality of this kind of criminal behaviour is the serious impact it can have on local communities.

“As well as continuing to increase our own security and working closely with the police, we want to raise awareness of the threats posed by these kinds of thefts and we want to encourage people in communities to report any suspicious behaviour they see beside our power lines and substations. “We are happy to pay rewards for information that leads to criminal convictions, and we want to work closely with communities to help catch the criminals responsible for this dangerous activity.” Any suspicious activity can be reported to ScottishPower via its 24-hour response line on 08452 727 999.

Source: The Scotsman

Metal theft leaves SP Energy Networks with £18m bill

Metal theft from electricity substations across Scotland in the last four years has cost SP Energy Networks £18 million in repairs and extra security.

The company has experienced 1212 raids on its substations – roughly one a day – with each one resulting in a loss of supply and a major safety risk to both the public and the perpetrator. The crimes have resulted in three fatalities, including one man who made direct contact with an 11Kv pole mounted transformer, and more than 20 arrests.

The Scottish Government is set to tackle the problem of metal theft by introducing legislation that prohibits scrap metal dealers from accepting cash payments and forcing them to identify sellers in September. SP Energy Networks district manager Eddie Mulholland said: “It beggars belief that criminals continue to dice with death for a few pounds worth of scrap metal. “What is more concerning is their complete disregard for the power cuts they have caused, and the house fires they have started.”

Source: Utility Week

Metal thieves in 1,200 raids on electricity substations

Metal thieves carried out more than 1,200 raids on electricity substations in the last four years, according to Scottish businesses.

The raids have resulted in three deaths and more than 20 arrests. Each crime costs firms thousands of pounds in repair bills, lost power and safety risks to the public. The Metal Theft Summit being held in Cambuslang later hopes to highlight the impact of crimes on businesses and communities. Utility firm SP Energy Networks claims the thefts have contributed to the firm facing an £18m UK bill.

Jim Scott, of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), said the findings illustrated the impact metal theft can cause and the risk to human life. He said: “As part of our drive to tackle metal theft, we must look to improve reporting and vigilance, as well as raise awareness of the responsibilities faced by those who trade in scrap metal – especially in the lead up to the legislation changes.”

New legislation will prohibit scrap metal dealers from accepting cash payments.

Mr Scott, whose group is run in partnership with the Scottish government, added: “By ensuring scrap metal dealers no longer accept cash payments, along with measures to record and verify the identity of people selling metal, it will provide greater traceability and curb the potential for criminal behaviour.”

The new legislation will come into force in September. It prohibits scrap metal dealers from accepting cash payments and forces them to identify sellers to better regulate the trade of scrap metal.

The SBRC has joined forces with British Transport Police, Police Scotland, DWP and Trading Standards to run Operation Scandium which involves stopping vehicles to educate drivers about scrap metal legislation.

‘Selfish criminals’

Ch Supt John McBride, of British Transport Police, said: “While we have seen a welcome decrease in the number of incidents from a high of several years ago, metal theft continues to disrupt and inconvenience industry and the public as well as being costly to rectify.”

Eddie Mulholland, district manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “Metal theft from the electricity network continues to put lives at risk, and threaten the safety of communities.

“It beggars belief that criminals continue to dice with death for a few pounds worth of scrap metal. What is more concerning is their complete disregard for the power cuts they have caused, and the house fires they have started.

“We support all efforts to stop these selfish criminals, and restrict their ability to sell stolen metal.”

The event takes places at the Scottish Fire and Rescue National Training Centre in Cambuslang.

Source BBC

Distributech Themes

Cresatech business development Catherine Fulton attended Distributech as a delegate and attended the lectures, panels and keynotes alongside energy industry professionals.

Integration and smart aggregation were themes, along with smart metering and what seemed to be the most popular topic- cyber security. Helen Whittaker from BC Hydro presented one of the best discussions on the event. Big impacts were with drones and functional mobile apps. Cresatech had good friends in the exhibition hall, most notably Embedded Logix, who are making a big splash in the energy industry with their smart data integration for substation security. Learn more about Helen here.

Up next for Cresatech is the UK Metal Theft Summit 2/25 @ Scottish Fire and Rescue ServiceTraining Centre, Cambuslang G72 7NA.