T&D World Magazine

Traceable Conductor Provides Theft Deterrent

Proof Positive Copper with TraceID Technology is Southwire's solution to the growing problem of copper theft. The product provides immediate proof of ownership and acts as a long-term theft deterrent solution. The initial idea for the solution stemmed from conversations with frustrated customers dealing with theft from substations, warehouses and jobsites.

"We really took the time to understand the issue from several different perspectives," says Charles Holcombe, product development engineer. "We wanted to make sure the product would deliver for our utility customers, but at the same time be easy for the recycler to recognize and provide the documentation needed for prosecution. The end product meets the needs of all three groups."

The tinned center strand features unique laser-etched TraceID codes that tie back to ownership data stored in a secure online database accessible by the utility, recyclers and law enforcement. The information stored in the database provides immediate proof of ownership and is accessible 24/7.

The outer stranding includes one highly visible tin-coated copper strand for visual identification that is key in letting recyclers know to peel back the stranding to reveal the codes on the center strand. As word of the prosecution-friendly product makes its way to thieves, the highly visible aspect will deter them before they steal it.

Testing at a Georgia Power substation proved the potential for Proof Positive Copper - within three weeks of installing the product, it was stolen and turned up at a local recycler who was familiar with Southwire and Proof Positive. The recycler notified police immediately and three copper thieves were soon in jail awaiting trial on felony charges.

Southwire currently manufactures Proof Positive Copper in bare copper sizes #2 through 4/0 with 7-strand and 19-strand configurations

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