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Grounding wire stolen from NL Power’s Lethbridge substation

Newfoundland Power is expressing concern that thieves and vandals continue to illegally enter the company's substations.
Newfoundland Power is expressing concern that thieves and vandals continue to illegally enter the company's substations.

Newfoundland Power says thieves and vandals continue to put the lives of the its employees and the public at risk by ignoring warnings about the dangers of illegally entering high voltage substations.

Sometime on or before this past Sunday, vandals entered the Lethbridge substation on the Bonavista Peninsula, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

A hole was cut in the substation fence, causing damage to electrical equipment. Copper grounding wire that was connected to the high voltage electricity grid was also stolen, compromising the integrity and reliability of the electricity system.

There was also a break-in at the Boyd’s Cove substation near Twillingate at the end of November.

“This illegal activity has to stop before it is too late and someone is seriously injured or killed,” said Gary Murray, the company’s vice president of engineering and operations. “We responded as soon as the alarm system in the building was activated which appeared to deter the vandals.”

The grounding wire that was stolen is an important part of the substation’s protection system. If it is tampered with or removed, it is extremely dangerous for employees to enter to make repairs, the news release stated.

Recent acts of vandalism have also resulted in lengthy outages to customers while repairs were made.

“We are taking this very seriously and every incident is reported to the police for investigation,” Murray said.

“We are appealing to the public to help put a stop to this dangerous, illegal activity and have increased the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of these individuals from $5,000 to $10,000.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP, RNC or Crime Stoppers.

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