Copper theft leads to power shortage in Fayetteville - WNCN: News, Weather

Copper theft leads to power shortage in Fayetteville

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A copper theft that damaged equipment has caused a power shortage for some businesses in Fayetteville.

The city's Public Works Commission (PWC) reports repairs were being made, and during that time customers along part of Cedar Creek Road may experience low voltage. The affected area is between I-95 and Clinton Road.

Several hotels in this area near I-95 reported problems beginning Wednesday. An elevator at the Fairfield Inn wouldn't work because there wasn't enough power going to it, and the low voltage at the Rodeway Inn caused the fire alarm to go off several times, and it was also cutting down on the air conditioner's performance.

While the repairs are being made, PWC is asking its customers along Cedar Creek Road to reduce their power use by adjusting thermostats, turning off lights and using big appliances at night. They say that will help get electricity to where it's needed most, like the IGA grocery store, which may have been the most affected.

From 12:30 p.m. To 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the store was so low on power it switched to a back-up generator. They also closed off the frozen food section to keep the display doors closed and moved any fresh meats to the walk-in freezer.

Manager Ken Dimsdale said PWC was very responsive to the stores concerns. Even considering the bad situation, he said it could have been worse.

"If we didn't have the back-up generator and hadn't reacted to it as soon as we saw what the problem was," Dimsdale said. "Our people knew exactly what to do on it. So that helped tremendously right there."

He said he also is surprised by what caused the problem.

"To go into a power station and cut copper wire out is awfully dangerous," Dimsdale said. "

I don't think I've ever known that to happen around here before."

PWC said the repairs should be finished by Friday. Dimsdale worries that could mean another power outage as those repairs wrap up.

PWC spokeswoman Carolyn Justice-Hinson did not respond to multiple calls requesting more details. An assistant said Justice-Hinson was in a meeting when WNCN visited her office.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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