June 21, 2018
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Theft of utility’s wire in Elliotsville probed

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

ELLIOTSVILLE, Maine — Central Maine Power Co. is still plagued by thieves who cut and steal the company’s wire for its valuable copper.

The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of about two dozen pole ground wires that were cut and stolen from the power company’s lines in Elliotsville in recent days.

Gail Rice, CMP spokeswoman, said the pole ground wires run from the top of a pole into the ground. These wires are not typically live but can be if there is a fault in the system, she said.

“They do a couple of things; They help ensure reliability of the system and also the safety of the system,” Rice said Wednesday. Removing them could pose a danger to the general public and to CMP’s workers, as well as the thieves themselves. People have died doing that in the past, she noted.

Rice said the problem was so bad a year or two ago that the Maine Legislature enacted a law that required scrap metal dealers to keep a list of the names of people who bring metals to their yards.

“I don’t know how much that has helped,” Rice said. “It never totally went away; it’s still happening often enough.” She said the thieves not only remove the pole wires, but they also cut fences around substations and remove copper wire from these operations, which is extremely dangerous.

The public can help by calling police when they see anything suspicious around the company’s power lines or substations, Rice said.

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