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Examiner
  • Dangerous tactics in copper thefts

  • A recent rash of copper thefts is costly to Independence Power & Light – and it’s potentially deadly.

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  • A recent rash of copper thefts is costly to Independence Power & Light – and it’s potentially deadly.
    Officials have a couple of urgent messages for the public. First, if you see a downed electric line but not a nearby white truck with a blue “IPL” on the side, call 911 immediately. Those lines can be dangerous.
    Second, “just be our eyes and ears,” so the police can catch the thief or thieves, said, Patrick Quinn, IPLs security administrator.
    The problem has spiked since about April 15, Quinn said. Most incidents have been north of Truman Road and west of Missouri 291.
    The thief, or thieves, is targeting primary neutral wires.
    “They’re pulling it down from the poles,” Quinn said. He said 1,000 or more feet – with copper valued at thousands of dollars – has been taken.
    The primary neutral wire is designed to dissipate periodic power surges. That prevents damage to things such as computers and appliances. Much of the time that line carries no power, but IPL stresses there no way of knowing when a surge will happen – and that can be enough electricity to start a fire or kill a person.
    A witness saw one theft, involving a white male, working alone, in a blue SUV. So IPL is invoking the “if you see something, say something” idea. Call 911 or call IPL’s trouble dispatcher at 816-325-7550.
    The loss of copper adds up for the utility as well.
    “Let’s put it this way: It comes out of the ratepayer’s pocket,” Quinn said.
     
     
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