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High Prices For Scrap Metal Causes Headaches For Utility Company

Scrap copper prices today topped $3.50 per pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While the higher price can be good news for metal recyclers, its lead to problems for one of Columbus' largest companies. Now,American Electric Power wants its customers to keep an eye out for metal thieves. The company says high prices for scrap copper and aluminum is prompting more thefts from A-E-P sub-stations and other facilities.

A-E-P spokeswoman Vicki Michalski says in some cases the thieves have electrocuted themselves while trying to steal copper from live wires. In other cases they've caused power outages. The price for scrap metal began rising two years ago. Recycling Exchange spokesman Jerry Van Der Kooi says overseas demand is mostly responsible for the higher scrap prices.

Van Der Kooi says his firm and other recyclers have checks in place to help determine whether scrap metal brought to the plant is stolen.

A-E-P says it has installed new security technology at its stations and made changes in how it stores electrical wire and equipment.