KCP&L Combatting Recent String of Copper Theft

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Feb. 1, 2019 – Copper thieves struck KCP&L substations 10 times in January. Substations in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Hickman Mills, Mo. experienced multiple incidents since January 1. KCP&L reported 32 copper theft incidents in 2018.

Copper theft continues to be a nationwide issue despite its minimal value and the life-threatening risk that thieves take to obtain it. Copper scraps collected only net a few dollars while they cause thousands of dollars in damage. Additionally, copper theft can lead to power outages that affect everyone in their local communities.

“Touching the wrong thing in a substation can kill you. Equipment that these thieves are tampering with may be energized at very high voltages, which may have deadly consequences,” said Jeremy McNeive, KCP&L spokesman.

Tampering with the electrical infrastructure, including stealing copper, is a felony under federal law. Once caught, offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible because the electric grid is critical infrastructure in the United States. Utility security personnel conduct joint investigations with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. KCP&L quickly notifies the appropriate parties to help identify suspected copper thieves.

KCP&L uses a variety of methods to protect substations, including the security cameras and motion detectors, but often the best protection against thieves are alert neighbors. KCP&L employees working in and around substations always wear logoed clothing. If anyone sees or suspects suspicious activity in or around a substation, they are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

About KCP&L and Westar Energy:
Serving approximately 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L), KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company and Westar Energy are the electric utilities of Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG). Together we generate nearly half the power we provide to homes and businesses with emission-free sources. We support our local communities where we live and work, and strive to meet the needs of customers through energy savings and innovative solutions.

 

­Media Contact:
Jeremy McNeive
Media Communications Manager
Phone: 913-488-9186
Jeremy.McNeive@kcpl.com
Media line: 888-613-0003