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Help Unison Stop Copper Theft and Keep Our Community Safe

Unison has seen a serious increase in damaged earth cables from its power poles in Hawke's Bay.

Unison is deeply concerned about a recent increase in copper thefts on its Hawke's Bay network. Thieves have been targeting earth cables, which are vital for maintaining a safe network. By tampering with these cables, they not only endanger themselves and the public but also put Unison's staff and contractors at risk of electrocution.

They are reaching out to the community for assistance in reporting any suspicious activities around their power poles. While working closely with the police, Unison recognises the crucial role that the public can play in preventing further incidents and potential injuries.

Unison Acting Group General Manager People, Safety & Culture, Rachel Masters stressed the importance of public cooperation and emphasised the urgency of the matter.

“Electricity can kill and interfering with the network puts everyone at risk. We need to spread the message that stealing copper in this way is incredibly dangerous and reckless.

"The earth cable is a crucial safety feature that ensures our protective devices work properly, and over the last two months we’ve found 35 missing from our power poles, which is over a 1000% increase on the previous months.

“Earth cables are designed so that they can shut off the power if there's a problem, like a power line coming into contact with the ground. This a vital piece of equipment to have intact for everyone’s safety," Mrs Masters said.

Public safety remains a top priority for Unison, who regularly run public safety campaigns, and visit schools and third-party companies to educate people on the dangers of electricity. In light of recent events, Unison wants to remind the public to stay vigilant.

"If you witness any suspicious activity or come across a damaged power box or pole, please contact Unison immediately on 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476). Stay away from the area and keep others away until a Unison representative arrives to fix the damage," Mrs Masters said.

Together, with the community's help, Unison hopes to put an end to the dangerous practice of copper theft and ensure the safety of everyone connected to the network.

For more information on how to report damage to Unison’s electrical assets visit www.unison.co.nz/reportdamage.

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