Georgia's electric utilities are offering $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in the theft of copper and other metals from their property.

Copper thefts from substations, utility poles and lines continue to be a growing problem for the industry. These thefts threaten the reliability of the electric system. In addition, damaged lines pose a danger of electrocution to anyone in the area, including utility workers.

Any information could be vital to the identification of thieves. This problem affects many businesses throughout the state, and the utilities are aggressively working with law enforcement agencies and scrap recyclers to apprehend the perpetrators. This reward is one tool to encourage the public's assistance.

Details such as a tag number, a physical description of a person or a car could be especially helpful. Anyone who observes suspicious activity around an electric substation or other utility facility is asked to contact the statewide copper theft hotline at 1-877-732-8717. If a theft is in progress, the witness should notify 911 first, then contact the hotline.

The $500 reward was first announced in February of 2009. Today the state's electric utilities continue their commitment to prosecute thieves but depend on the public to provide information which could lead to the arrest of these criminals.

The reward will be paid to anyone who furnishes information that leads directly to the arrest and conviction of someone involved in metals theft from a utility property in Georgia. The $500 award is being offered by Dalton Utilities, Electric Cities of Georgia, 42 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs), Georgia EMC, Georgia Power, Georgia Transmission Corp. and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia.