During the recent Hurricane Irma power restoration effort, SECO Energy fell victim to thieves who stole copper feeder line from three local substations. The thefts occurred in Sumter County in the communities of Webster, Lake Panasoffkee and Croom-A-Coochee/Clay Sink. The thieves slowed power restoration to local residents.
SECO approximates the theft occurred sometime between Thursday, September 14, and Saturday, September 16. In Webster, thieves took off with 464-feet of line from 516 NW 3rd Street. In Lake Panasoffkee, 1,006-feet of line disappeared from 3417 CR 421. The largest amount of line was stolen from the Croom-A-Coochee/Clay Sink area, 4,726-feet was taken from Porter Gap Road.
Thieves steal copper wire to sell the copper for scrap value, the value of which can add up quickly. It is always dangerous to touch any electric line, and if the thieves had encountered an energized line, they could have been seriously injured or killed. If you see a down line, always assume it is live and stay away, never try to pick it up yourself, call for help. SECO has notified the proper authorities, and asks citizens for their help. Please report any suspicious activity to the Sumter County Sheriff and to SECO.
CEO Jim Duncan states, “This act is criminal in more ways than one. I was saddened to learn that because of these crooks, residents in Webster, Lake Pan and Croom waited longer for power restoration. These members were already suffering without power after Hurricane Irma and these copper crooks created additional hardships. My heart goes out to these communities, and I sincerely hope the thieves are apprehended, charged and convicted.”
In addition to theft, SECO advises members to be cautious of any person or company claiming to be from SECO. SECO employees and contractors carry company identification and trucks are clearly marked. SECO will never call and harass members for payment, if you receive a questionable phone call, hang up and call SECO directly.
Learn more about SECO Energy’s commitment to community at SECOEnergy.com > Your Co-op > Community. “Like” SECO’s Facebook page and “follow” the company on Twitter to stay updated about storms affecting our area.