Following a series of recent break-ins to transformers and substations, ENMAX is warning the public to
stay clear of any electrical equipment that appears to have been tampered with and call 911. The break-ins, attempted by individuals who intend to steal copper, involve dangerous, high-voltage equipment. These incidents can lead to electrical hazards, power outages and pose a significant risk to public safety.
"We are extremely concerned about the public's safety when this high-voltage electrical equipment is tampered with and exposed," said Doris Kaufmann Woodcock, ENMAX spokesperson. "We want Calgarians to be aware of this risk in their neighbourhoods, and if they notice any suspicious activity around transformers and substations to please call 911 immediately."
In November 2013, an individual died at an ENMAX substation while attempting to steal copper from the site. Copper theft is a problem for utilities and incidents vary depending on current scrap market prices and general economic conditions. To protect ENMAX property and prevent serious injuries to those attempting to steal copper from high-voltage equipment, ENMAX uses alternate materials whenever possible that have little value in comparison.
"Thanks to new legislation, the sale of illegally obtained copper is becoming more difficult," said Paul Bates, Manager of Environment, Safety & Security, ENMAX. "Anyone selling the metal to scrap dealers must produce identification and dealers must record the registration number of the vehicle used to deliver it. This information is kept on record and made available to law enforcement for investigations."
"The theft of metal, particularly from critical infrastructure sites, creates a severe hazard for site employees, first responders, the public, as well as for offenders," said Staff Sgt. Tom Hanson. "Theft at such sites can create a potentially fatal situation for employees and first responders, who may not be aware of the risk when they enter an area that's been compromised."
ENMAX is working closely with Calgary Police and asking anyone with tips on the crimes to contact:
For more information, please contact:
Customers are free to purchase natural gas services or electricity services from a retailer of their choice. For a list of retailers, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).