Protecting the public from unsafe contact with our electrical equipment is a challenge, as we have little control over those whose work or recreational activities bring them close to our facilities – or those who choose to trespass on our property.
We launched a five-year Path to Excellence in 2008, patterned after our internal efforts, to reduce public fatalities by 20 percent and electrical contacts by 10 percent a year. We had eight public fatalities and 32 additional electrical contacts in 2012, compared with six fatalities and 35 contacts in 2011.
Four of the eight public fatalities and one electrical contact in 2012 resulted from attempted copper theft, which continues to be a problem in much of our service area. Our efforts to educate the public about the dangers of copper theft and other unsafe practices have intensified through use of social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. A new video about the risks of copper theft was made available on operating company websites in mid-2012. And our governmental affairs teams are working with their state legislators across our system to strengthen laws that could help curb the practice.