Nova Scotia Power says there have been about half a dozen copper thefts from their stations over the past month. RCMP and Halifax Regional Police are now investigating the break ins.
“The investigation is ongoing, we are making extra patrols in the area and looking for the suspects, or looking for people who may know information on who the suspects are,” said Corp. Lisa Croteau.
Thieves have been cutting fencing around stations to get inside and steal copper. NS Power is now warning of the dangers.
“There’s high voltage electricity in there,” said David Rodenhiser, a spokesperson for the utility.
“When people go in there people are risking their lives because when they’re removing pieces of copper they’re acting around live electrical equipment.”
Copper is used as a conductor in stations and removing it from a station can cause electricity to flow into other metal parts of the infrastructure, and even into the ground, posing a high risk to anyone on the premise.
“Even if the person who’s done this escapes without injury, if one of our employees go into the substation and doesn’t know it’s been tampered with, that employee is at risk of injury as well,” said Rodenhiser.
WATCH: RCMP investigating string of copper thefts in Moncton
NS Power customers can also be affected by thefts. A theft earlier this month in Spryfield forced the utility to cut power to 12,000 customers for 12 minutes to do repairs, about half of those customers were cut off for about an hour.
Rodenhiser says in some cases the thieves have only made away with about $100 worth of copper. All copper components used at a station will also have identifying markers which should be easily recognizable to legitimate scrap dealers.