WHITTIER, Calif. -- About half of Whittier and a large portion of Pico Rivera were without power Monday afternoon as the result of the theft of copper wire from a substation, authorities said.
SoCal Edison Power Outage Page
A maintenance crew going into a substation on Beverly Boulevard in Pico Rivera about 1:30 p.m. discovered that the copper wiring used for grounding purposes had been stolen, said Steve Conroy of Southern California Edison.
Conroy said he did not know exactly how much wiring was stolen, but it was a "substantial" amount.
"As you know, the theft of copper wire is a problem across the nation," Conroy said, referring to the rising worldwide demand -- and soaring prices -- for aluminum, copper and brass, for which junk dealers and recyclers will pay cash.
Conroy said the crew had to immediately de-energize the equipment.
"We had to turn it off," he said. "It's unsafe operating the substation with no grounding protection and it could affect not only the station, but poles and wires outside."
An Edison spokeswoman said the plan was to have power restored by 5 p.m.
UPDATE: Power came on minutes before 5 PM.