Roseburg, Ore. - The Bonneville Power Administration will pay up to a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals who broke into a BPA substation, damaged equipment and stole copper wire. BPA and local law enforcement officers are investigating the incident that will cost Northwest ratepayers approximately $10,000.
BPA crews on Dec. 31 discovered that copper wire had been cut from equipment at the substation on Coos Bay Wagon Road near Roseburg. The thieves apparently entered the substation by cutting a hole in the fence. BPA officials estimated that approximately 300 feet of copper wire of varying sizes were stolen.
The break-in is the latest in a continuing string of damaging wire thefts at BPA substations throughout the Northwest. BPA last week reported a similar break-in and theft at a substation near Arlington, Wash.
“The culprits are not only damaging the electrical infrastructure that keeps our lights on, but they’re also forcing electric ratepayers to cover the costs of this kind of senseless damage and theft,” said Kevin West, BPA physical security specialist.
Anyone with information about this or other such crimes should call BPA’s confidential and toll-free Crime Witness Hotline at 800-437-2744 or contact local law enforcement. BPA officials hope that news of the theft and potential reward will lead witnesses to report anything unusual they may have seen at or around the substation. Even small details can often help investigators.
In 2008, BPA provided a $4,000 reward to an individual who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of thieves who stole copper wire and damaged equipment at Bonneville Power Administration substations in western Montana. Since 2006, BPA has paid 10 rewards totaling almost $13,000.
For more details about BPA’s Crime Witness Program, go to http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/contact/crimewitness/index.cfm
BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,500 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system.