Electricity distributor Unison Networks is highly concerned following a recent bout of copper theft on its Hawke’s Bay network, and is calling on the community to report any suspicious activity around power poles.
Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison was working with the police, but also needed the public’s help to try and stop thieves before someone gets seriously or fatally injured.
“It’s just luck that someone hasn’t electrocuted themselves. The message needs to get through that these dangerous acts of stealing copper are very foolish.”
Thieves were removing copper from earth cables, designed to ensure the network was safe, and in doing so, were exposing the public as well as Unison’s field staff and contractors to risk of a serious shock or electrocution.
Mr Gough said the earth cable is an important safety feature that ensures the protective devices will operate and switch the power off when something goes wrong, such as a wire contacting the ground.
“Public safety is extremely important to Unison. Every year we run public safety campaigns, and also visit schools to educate children about the dangers associated with electricity assets.
“Our message to the public is if you see any suspicious activity, or come across a damaged earth wire, call Unison or the police immediately. Keep away from the area, and keep others away, until someone from Unison arrives to repair the damage.”