Attempted copper theft cuts power to hundreds of homes

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Ausgrid is warning that people are risking their lives by interfering with live electrical wires after would-be thieves used bolt cutters to cut down live high voltage powerlines.

A recent attempted copper wire theft cut power to 770 homes and businesses in Lake Macquarie early yesterday morning.

The incident caused two power outages for customers in parts of Carey Bay, Kilaben Bay and Toronto lasting from 2:55am until about 7:30am.

When emergency crews arrived to investigate they found about 150 metres of copper cable coiled on the ground and powerlines dangling from poles with cable cutters still attached.

Ausgrid Chief Operating Officer Trevor Armstrong condemned the behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“These were high voltage live powerlines carrying 11,000 volts, so not only is this attempted theft brazen it is also incredibly risky.

“The people behind this not only put their own lives at risk they also endangered the public as well.

“This could have ended tragically for the alleged thieves and we were very fortunate that no-one was injured, no amount of copper is worth your life’, Mr Armstrong said.

Power was safely restored to all customers and the damaged powerlines have been replaced. Ausgrid Security and the police are also working closely together.

Locals who saw any suspicious activity in the area off Awaba Road in Toronto near Ausgrid’s Toronto West zone substation in the early hours of yesterday morning are urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.