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Copper Theft Up; Westar Says Customers Will Pay for Replacements

Westar Station_0.jpg
Westar Energy's Facebook page
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Westar Energy officials who are dealing with $200,000 in damage at a substation over 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 just in April. There were only 15 similar thefts in all of 2012.

Westar crews were at six different substations Monday to make repairs related to copper thefts. The company will replace the stolen copper with materials that have no scrap value.

VenJohn says the replacement material is more expensive. It takes special crews to install and is more time-consuming. He says that increases costs, which will eventually be passed on to customers.