September is Copper Theft Awareness Month, and PNM will be alerting residential and business customers about copper theft, how to identify it, what they can do if they become a victim, how to report it and what steps they can take to deter copper thieves.

So far in 2023, PNM has received 51 reports of business customers hit by copper thieves. In 2022, PNM received a total of 83 copper theft reports from businesses. Copper theft can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair and replace and also poses a serious safety hazard to the public. High copper prices entice criminals to steal metals from homes, businesses, scrap sites and utilities.

Once the copper is stolen, customers may find that even though their power is on, it fluctuates, electronics are sparking, or arcing is visible around the meter box or transformer. Copper thieves often leave open the transformers housed in the green metal boxes containing electrical equipment and live wires. Touching them could be deadly. Stay away, never touch this equipment, and report it to PNM immediately by calling 888-DIAL PNM.

To deter copper thieves, businesses can install protective devices that barricade the doors to transformers and meters and cover the locks and handles to deter access.

Residential customers can also take the following steps to deter copper theft at their home:

  • Illuminate your yard using motion sensors.
  • Install security lighting and/or cameras.
  • Do not leave equipment/metals exposed and unsecured.
  • Join or organize a neighborhood watch network.

To report suspected copper theft, call PNM at 888-DIAL-PNM (888-342-5766) so PNM can send out a crew to make the area safe. Share what you know anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP (505-843-7867). Anonymous tips can also be submitted at Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in copper theft.