Utilities are in a unique position – they are unnoticed when everything is working properly, but in the worst crosshairs when things go awry. Whenever there is an outage, utility emergency teams can hear the clock ticking – the sooner they can restore service, the sooner people stop reporting problems. This can be a daunting task, as electrical teams frequently experience widespread outages due to storms. Or it may be a localized occurrence with far reaching implications – such as a water main break.
While guns and drones might get most of the “danger” headlines, the reality is that petty theft is a much larger problem for utilities. It often doesn’t wind up in public conversation either because the crime goes unreported, or someone making off with a bundle of copper wire is not as sensational as, say, someone taking an automatic rifle to an electrical substation.
Theft from Utilities is Common
Everything from copper wire, to batteries, to even diesel fuel is relatively easy to monetize and becomes a target for criminals. The theft of these items is always a problem, but for unmonitored service centers and other locations, it can be life-threatening when workers find out that their equipment is missing due to theft amid an emergency.
For example, one utility reports that they found all their diesel was siphoned out of electrical generators when they needed them for emergency repairs. Instead of being ready to leap into action, they had to fill them up before responding to an emergency, causing lost minutes in response time. The same is true for other items – because many service centers do not have active monitoring, workers only notice they are missing tools and other products when they need them and a theft has already happened.
It’s cost-prohibitive to put security guards at each facility, especially for utilities that are under constant price pressure from government and customers. However, remote video monitoring (RVM) does provide a cost-effective security solution that is more effective than upgrading traditional doors, windows, etc. And unlike these other items, it is “active” and can stop would-be thieves before they have a chance to steal anything.
A Way for Utilities to Ratchet-up Security
Today’s RVM services, such as the one provided by Pro-Vigil, have a team of security experts in a remote operations center watching video feeds from the cameras installed on location. They can activate audio and visual deterrents when there is someone on the property who doesn’t belong there and even notify authorities if they don’t leave. What’s more, Pro-Vigil’s mobile solution is completely self-contained, so it will work when the power goes down – a key consideration when the power is out, or when a location doesn’t have wired electricity.
When emergencies strike, utilities want to be confident that petty theft has not prevented their response teams from accessing the equipment they need. Pro-Vigil can make that wish a reality. Learn more about Pro-Vigil’s mobile surveillance solutions here. Or if you’d like to discuss how we can help, contact us today.