Kentucky’s two largest utility companies are employing micro-encryption to help nab copper thieves. Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities – both owned by E.ON U.S. – are marking their power lines with a type of invisible ink. They’re also training salvage operators to identify the markings so they can catch thieves and return the stolen property.
Company spokesperson Brian Phillips says in addition to loss of property, officials are worried about safety.
“When a thief tampers with our electric property, it compromises the safeguards we have in place to protect our employees, the public and our electric system,” says Phillips. “And if they are successful in stealing copper or stealing some other type of electric equipment, what they leave behind is a very unsafe condition.”
Phillips says the number of copper thefts has grown rapidly over the last few years. So far this year, the company has had 28 thefts.