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Copper Thieves Target SPEC

Copper thieves have been targeting San Patricio Electric Cooperative poles over the last few weeks. About 10,000 feet of copper has been stolen from SPEC’s power poles in Live Oak County.

The thefts have happened along secluded county roads that don’t see a lot of traffic.

Copper is valuable as scrap, and the profits can be tempting for thieves. Scrap dealers will pay nearly $3 per pound of copper. To fight back against this threat, SPEC has moved to using aluminum wire instead of copper over the last several years. It has a much lower scrap value and is less likely to be stolen.

However, there are still poles in our service territory with copper wire. With nearly 3,200 miles of line, it’s impossible to monitor every mile.

While the copper holds some value for the co-op, it’s an even bigger expense to repair the damage. The crime results in thousands of dollars in damages, and there isn’t an insurance option to cover the cost of power line theft. Copper theft is costing our co-op and ultimately our members.

Fortunately, the copper theft hasn’t caused any service issues for our members. The thieves are stealing the neutral wire, but electricity still flows without issue. Stealing wire from a power pole is extremely dangerous for the thieves, and it could be dangerous for our employees and the public too.  

If you see anything, or have any information about these crimes, we ask that you please report it to the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office at 361-449-2271.

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