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CVPS offers $1,000 reward in substation wire theft

Thieves putting their and others’ lives at risk

Central Vermont Public Service
Contact: Steve Costello: (802) 747-5427 work    (802) 742-3062 pager
For Immediate Release: March 25, 2010

BENNINGTONCentral Vermont Public Service is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of someone who cut their way into a Bennington substation and cut out copper ground wire.

“This incident put the culprit, public and CVPS workers in serious jeopardy, and caused thousands of dollars in damage,” CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. “The amount of copper stolen probably wasn’t worth more than $40, but the risk to the public was far greater. Anyone near the substation during a fault could have received a severe electrical shock, as a substation ground grid is critical for return currents and fault dissipation.”

The damage was discovered this morning by a CVPS electrical maintenance worker performing routine maintenance at the Lyons Street substation in Bennington. Thanks to careful and cautious efforts on the part of CVPS workers, customer load was transferred to other substations and the substation was safely de-energized. About 475 customers in Bennington had their power interrupted for about 20 minutes around 10:25 a.m. this morning during the switching process. Full repairs will be completed today, at a cost of approximately $2,000.

The incident is under investigation by the Bennington Police Department. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer George Corey at (802) 442-1030.

“These individuals are putting their lives at risk, have endangered the public, and put CVPS employees in a very hazardous situation,” Costello said.  “We urge anyone who sees anything suspicious near a substation or utility property to call their local or State Police immediately.”

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