Ausgrid has revealed that 74 incidents of copper theft have been recorded across its network since August 2023, resulting in almost half a million dollars in damage, disruptions to thousands of customers, and severe safety risks. 

The latest analysis by Ausgrid has shown criminals are increasingly moving away from breaking into depots, to now cutting down power poles with chainsaws and cutting off earth wires to strip copper.

Ausgrid Group Executive for Operations, Sam Sofi, said that the ongoing criminal attacks on the network are putting lives at risk and extending outages for communities.

“Copper theft is a serious public safety issue,” Mr Sofi said.  

“These criminals are not just putting their own lives at risk but are also endangering the surrounding communities by leaving powerlines exposed, often cut and lying on the ground. 

“Not only does this disrupt power supply but it diverts resources away from our emergency crews and their ability to respond to incidents across our network.

“These criminal acts impact our customers. Each time thieves try to steal copper Ausgrid customers experience power supply issues and the risk of encountering exposed wires increases.

“All incidents of copper theft are reported to the police, and we have successfully identified and convicted several offenders. No amount of copper is worth a life.”

If you see fallen power lines always assume they are live, stay at least 8m back and call Ausgrid on 13 13 88. All incidents have been reported to the police. Anyone who may have any information is urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Featured image: A power pole cut down during a criminal incident. Image credit: Ausgrid.

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