AEP Substation Copper Theft Raises Concerns

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It left around 7,000 people without power for a full day.

"That day was unreal, everyone kept saying, I heard Harper's was open we ran up there, oh I'm glad your open. Poor little kids couldn't even go to the swimming pool cause they couldn't run the pumps. 86 degrees and you can't go swimming...uhhgggg," said Penny Joyce, Harper's Market Employee.

Last Wednesday's copper theft from an AEP substation in Athens County is raising concern.

"I don't think it's right that AEP doesn't have security, as much bills as we have to pay, they should have a camera or pay someone to be there all night, or something. It seems unreal that a big company like that, they can't protect their own place," said Joyce.

AEP tells us the thieves took all the copper possible out of this station, including all the ground wiring that surrounds the station.

That shut off power to Nelsonville, Athens, Vinton and Fairfield counties from 8:30AM till 6PM.

In Nelsonsville the only store fully open was Harper's Market, because they had a generator. The family run business says although it was great for them the day the power went out, its very sad when this kind of thing happens.

"It's sad you can't run a fan or nothing, ya know these old people don't have generators, I don't know if anyone went around to see if they were okay," said Joyce.

AEP spokesperson Vikki Michalski says this is a common problem and that they rely a lot on the public for help identifying unmarked cars at the substations.

"It is a on going issue for all utilities, not just us. If the public is our eyes and ears, our customers especially because they catch somebody they might prevent a potential power outage. Or if they catch somebody who's been doing this might stop future ones," said Vikki Michalski, AEP Spokesperson.

AEP says repairs will cost 50-thousand dollars or more .

They're asking the public for help catching these thieves and are offering a $5,000 reward withan arrest and conviction.

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