I often look back back at my column from the previous year for ideas and inspiration. Sadly, as I looked back to last July’s column, I could have just as well copied and pasted it for this year. Like last July, I am reaching out for help in trying to get information to identify some copper thieves who have been on the prowl lately. Austin County members near Lynn Road should keep their eyes open for any suspicious activity and report it if they do see any. Last year we were hit hard in the Columbus area, and the resulting theft cost San Bernard Electric Cooperative more than $100,000.
We’ve had two incidences this year in the area that will cost us almost that much. Even though we don’t use copper wire line design these days, its use was very common during the early years of this cooperative. All of San Bernard EC’s lines are constructed with aluminum today.
The thieves are targeting the nonenergized neutral (bottom) wire of our overhead power lines. However, this wire is needed for the safe operation of our system. Used copper prices are at an all-time high, and this makes it enticing for thieves in search of a quick buck. So please keep your eyes out for any suspicious activity.
As a quick update on the February storm, I want you to know that we are still evaluating all the proceedings of the state Legislature this year. As of this writing, the Legislature is still considering bills that will aﬀect how we can recover the tremendous expense we experienced. Once I have concrete information on what comes out of Austin, I will post an update. The ultimate solution to this event will be felt for many years.
I want to thank every member who participated in the drive-thru annual meeting this year. I truly hope that next May we will be able to meet like we did before COVID-19. I really miss the opportunity to see familiar faces and meet new members as well.
Please stay safe and enjoy a wonderful July 4th. Until next time, take care.