LANCASTER — Nearly 700 Inter-County Energy customers were left without power early this morning after an unknown person stripped about 40 copper ground wires from a Garrard County substation.
Late Thursday evening, someone cut through a fence surrounding the substation on Ky. 52 just outside of Lancaster, said Sheree H. Gilliam, vice president of member services for Inter-County Energy. The person then stripped approximately 40 copper wires, which caused a loss of power at the substation.
Not only did the thief or thieves inconvenience 677 people during the two-hour and 15-minute outage, he put his own life at serious risk, Gilliam said.
“It is really very dangerous to go into a substation and strip away copper wire,” Gilliam said. “Our men who work with these wires every day put themselves in danger, but they have the training to reduce the risks.”
Garrard County deputy sheriffs and Lancaster police officers thoroughly searched the area to make sure there was no one hurt or dead; investigators also called local hospitals to find out if anyone had come in with electricity-related injuries. The search yielded nothing, and there are no suspects at this time.
Gilliam said despite the risk associated with taking live copper wire, a similar incident happened before at a Perryville substation.
“Unfortunately, because of the price of copper, any type of construction site or substation is an easy target for thieves,” Gilliam said.
Inter-County Energy officials will not know until Monday how much it will cost to repair the damage, but the financial loss is “significant,” according to Gilliam. For now, customers served by the disabled Lancaster substation are getting their power from the Buckeye substation.