Composite poles prevent copper theft

Duratel composite poles protect utilities from copper theft on distribution and transmission poles.


Chicago, Ill.—More and more utilities across the country are experiencing an increase in the theft of copper wiring from distribution and transmission poles, as well as substations. It's been called a crime of the times with people desperate for money in a slumping economy. For the utility it's an expensive problem that is passed on to its ratepayers. A recent report says U.S. utilities spent more than $60 million and experienced over 456,000 outage minutes from copper thefts. Several utilities have turned to Duratel and its composite poles to deal with the growing problem.

Duratel composite poles are hollow and most utilities that purchase the pole opt for the ground copper wire to be run inside the pole. The process is handled inexpensively at the factory and the utility receives pole shipments ready for installation. Would-be copper thieves are thwarted by the fact that the copper ground cannot be seen or removed from the structure.

"More than 95 percent of all utilities in the U.S. say they have been impacted by the theft from copper from their facilities," said Ted Fotos,, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Sales for Duratel. "There is an extraordinary cost to repair and replace the stolen wire from utility poles, and, in many instances, restore power to customers that lost service as a result of the theft. Running the copper inside the Duratel poles is an ounce of protection that is much preferable to the pound of cure."

In addition to the financial loss, there is a safety issue with the theft of copper. There have been numerous deaths and serious injury related to the illegal removal of copper from utility poles and substations. Investor owned utilities have been trying to deal with the problem but to no avail. The only fool-proof method has been to run the ground wire inside the pole.

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