Personal tools

  • My Bill
  • Customer Service
  • Ways to Save
  • Clean Energy
  • Stay Safe
  • My PUD
  • Home > Stay Safe > Metal Theft is Dangerous and Costly

    Metal Theft is Dangerous and Costly

    Metal theft is a serious issue in the United States, due in large part to the high price of copper and other metals on the salvage market. Utilities in Oregon and Washington are seeing burglaries at substations and other facilities. This is a dangerous trend that increases costs for all PUD customers.

    Danger - High Voltage sign

    Safety is Our First Concern

    When thieves break into substations to steal copper wire they put themselves at great risk, often for little benefit. In October, a Washington man was electrocuted and killed while trying to steal $20 worth of copper. 

    Not only do thieves put themselves at risk, they also endanger our employees and the general public. In many cases, thieves are stealing grounding wire from our substations and power poles that is designed to protect workers and to prevent equipment failures.

    Copper Theft Increases Maintenance Costs

    These thefts also cost you money. Thieves caused an estimated $25,000 in damage to a substation near Clatskanie recently while stealing less than $200 worth of copper and brass.

    Since 2003, Bonneville Power Administration has reported more than 900 thefts. BPA estimates each crime costs about $150,000 in stolen materials. The total price is much higher because of the cost of labor to repair the damages. Ultimately, customers like you pay for these repairs.

    Report Suspicious Activity

    We need your help to stop metal theft. If you see suspicious activity around our substations, power poles or other electrical equipment, please call 9-1-1 immediately and report it. You can also call us at (503) 397-1844 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report suspicious activity or damage to PUD substations or equipment.

    24-Hour Outage & Emergency Hotline

    (503) 397-1844