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OTPC: Hunting damage to electrical facilities is costly

Eric Hamm, manager of safety services for Otter Tail Power Company, reminds area hunters that accidental damage to electrical facilities should be reported as soon as possible. Purposeful damage to utility equipment is a serious offense, which can lead to criminal charges. More important, activities such as climbing into fenced utility areas, attempting to retrieve game from these areas, or discharging a firearm at a transformer or substation are dangerous and could cost you your life.

Always be aware of the people, buildings, and other structures around you before discharging your firearm. Stray or intentional bullets that hit transformers, overhead lines, substations, or other equipment can cause power outages that can impact a number of customers including medically fragile people who rely on uninterrupted electricity for life-support systems. "You pay for the repairs if you're responsible for the damage," said Hamm. "But that doesn't make up for the power outage or other safety hazards that damaged electrical equipment creates."

  According to Hamm, some electrical facilities are protected by the National Homeland Security Act because large-scale power outages can lead to extensive public safety and security issues. Purposeful damage to these facilities can result in criminal charges.

  If you see a damaged utility pole, power line, or other electric facility, call Otter Tail Power Company at 800-257-4044 to report it.