Reading, PA (August 1, 2012) – UGI Utilities, Inc., noticed recent reports of copper pipe theft and issued an alert to customers today regarding the possible theft of interior copper piping, especially fuel lines carrying natural gas to home appliances. Tampering with or removing copper fuel lines can cause a release of natural gas which can present a significant safety hazard.
Due to rising commodity prices for scrap copper, homes and businesses are experiencing increased incidents of copper theft. Thieves are targeting telephone lines, electrical substation wiring, highway infrastructure and copper piping in homes and commercial buildings.
Copper piping is currently used for water lines, however copper pipe has also been used for natural gas lines in homes in the past.
UGI recommends that customers who own unoccupied properties or who might be away from their residences for an extended period of time make arrangements to secure these properties or to have the premises monitored by a neighbor or acquaintance. Real estate agents should also monitor unoccupied properties and take steps to prevent copper theft, including making the property appear to be occupied. Vacant property owners should call UGI to have gas service shut off until the property is available for occupancy.
In addition, customers are asked to be aware of suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, particularly at homes known to be vacant, and to contact the police if anything appears suspicious in nature.
Anyone who suspects a copper pipe theft should contact emergency personnel by calling 911 immediately.
If anyone notices an odor of natural gas, an odor that is similar to that of rotten eggs, they should immediately leave the area and from a safe location call 911 and UGI at 800-276-2722. If customers hear or see natural gas blowing, call 911 immediately from a location outside of the home.
UGI is a natural gas and electric utility company that serves more than 636,000 customers. Additional information about UGI Utilities is available at www.ugi.com. Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ugiutilities or Twitter: www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.