15 May 2012

Copper theft suspected after teen cuts power line

12:53 pm on 15 May 2012

Dargaville police suspect a man who cut through a live power line last week was trying to steal copper wire.

The 18-year year old is in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries after he cut through a 400-volt line, tripped an 11,000-volt line and fell from a transformer pole at Tinopai last Friday.

Northpower manager of Public Affairs Steve McMillan says it is the first time he has heard of someone cutting a live power line and the teenager is lucky to be alive.

Mr McMillan says people looking for copper usually cut the earth wires that run down the poles, not the overhead lines.

There has been a spate of such thefts in the north recently and Northpower is appealing to scrap metal dealers to be on the alert for people trying to sell copper wire.

Removing the earth wires can cause power surges, and electrical fires, and the thieves are putting the public at risk, Mr McMillan says.