CMEC works hard to keep your service as reliable as possible. Copper theft threatens that hard work. Across the state, electric cooperatives are reporting a huge increase in copper theft. In some cases, thieves have taken wire worth only $50 as copper scrap while causing $4000-$5000 in damage. They have also caused outages endangering members who depend on electricity for medical equipment. When thieves steal from an electric cooperative, all of the members are left holding the bill for repairs. For this reason, we need your help in order to put a stop to these crimes. If you witness any of the following around power lines, offices or substations, please call your local authorities or CMEC immediately.
What should you look for?
- Any suspicious activity along our power lines
- Unmarked vehicles parked near warehouses or substations
- Damage to fences or gates around substations and cooperative offices
- Unidentified trucks or trailers hauling wire on or off reels
Call Before You Dig
It is important to remember that a phone call to Missouri One-Call (dial 811) will locate CMEC’s lines to the meter. If you are digging between the meter and your home, barn or well and the lines are buried, please contact CMEC directly. The lines on the member’s side of the meter are member owned and can be located by CMEC for a service fee.
When choosing and planting new trees, keep in mind the mature size (height and width) of the tree. Trees encroaching the cooperative’s 30 foot easement will be topped or side-trimmed and trees within the cooperative’s easement will be removed.
Neutral-to-earth voltage, sometimes called stray voltage, is a condition that results when an electrical current flows through a neutral conductor.
N-E voltage can be caused by a number of factors, both in and around the farm. The amounts of minerals and moisture in the soil, subsoil and rock strata, and the varying water table level can affect any grounding system and change N-E voltages. Sudden problems are usually due to electrical loads, conductors and connections.
Stray voltage occurs when electricity “leaks” from the hot wire directly to the neutral or ground wires before passing through the device to be powered. These leaks produce only small amounts of electricity. Direct contact between the neutral and hot wires would short the system and blow a fuse or circuit breaker.
Stray voltage can result from arcing at equipment connections, frayed insulation and other mechanical problems. In addition, multiple grounds that are not interconnected can create ground currents capable of shocking livestock. Leaks and non-connected ground systems create electric charges in the earth that aren’t normal when an electric system is operating properly.
When these ground-based currents are present, animals or persons that contact well grounded equipment, such as metal stanchions or metal fence posts, will receive a shock as the electricity passes through their bodies. These N-E voltages, though rare, exist on all devices and are most common on farm feeding and milking equipment.