Ian Holmes, Northern Powergridâ€™s Vulnerable Assets Manager
Ian Holmes is Northern Powergridâ€™s new Vulnerable Assets Manager, taking on responsibility for the vast power network which delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
The new role for Ian, who has worked for Northern Powergrid for 28 years, sees him protecting 58,000 miles of overhead power lines and underground cables spanning some 10,000 square miles from the criminals who steal metal and cause power cuts for local people.
Metal theft has seen a reduction recently, as the price of copper is currently low; however, weâ€™ve still had 127 incidents where thieves or vandals have targeted our power network.
Every single one of those incidents comes with the potential of a serious or even fatal injury to the thieves, the public or our employees.
The result of power poles being cut by metal thieves â€“ live power lines dangerously accessible
Scarily, weâ€™ve had instances in the past where criminals have left live overhead cables hanging within reach of local school children who used a public footpath near our power lines.
So, while levels have decreased, whilst we have even one incident we will continue to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
Two commonly-targeted areas have been Teesside and West Yorkshire and weâ€™re working closely with the local police forces and Crimestoppers to investigate incidents, with the intention to catch and charge the criminals for their activities.
The public can assist with our fight against the criminals that target the power network which delivers power to their home by being our eyes and ears, helping spot any suspicious activity around our power lines or substations.
This time of year often sees an increase in metal theft as the nights get darker, giving thieves the cover of darkness.
So itâ€™s even more important to be on the lookout for suspicious activity around our equipment, including:-
You donâ€™t have to touch our equipment to get a shock, so stay away and call the police on 101, Northern Powergrid on 105 (the new, free and easy-to-remember power cut line) â€“ or call direct on 0800 375 675 in Yorkshire or 0800 66 88 77 in the North East.