Copper Thieves Hit 31 Westar Substations
KSAL Staff - April 30, 2013 6:16 am
The proposed $12.2 billion merger of Kansas-based Westar Energy with Missouri-based Kansas City Power & Light could be at the mercy of Missouri utility regulators whose staff has recommended the deal be rejected.
Westar Energy officials who were already dealing with $200,000 in damage done at a substation during the weekend say thieves also hit two other substations.
The utility discovered damage Monday at substations near Valley Center and in Wichita.
Westar Manager Doug VenJohn says thieves have hit 31 substations in April. There were only 15 similar thefts all of last year. Westar crews were at six different substations Monday to make repairs related to copper thefts.
Westar is replacing the copper stolen with something with no scrap value. But VenJohn says the material is more expensive, takes special crews to install and is more time-consuming. He says that increases costs, which will eventually be passed on to customers.
Associated Press information from: KAKE-TV