Wednesday 19 September 2018

Copper thieves were behind €10m blaze at city power station

The blaze at the ESB substation in Bluebell in south Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The blaze at the ESB substation in Bluebell in south Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Thieves trying to steal copper wire from an ESB substation sparked a massive €10m fire.

In a statement released last night by Crimestoppers, the electricity supplier said that the damage was caused by “third-party interference”.

ESB Networks said that 120,000 customers were left without power when the 220KV substation in Bluebell, south Dublin, was targeted on

Sunday night.

It has since been established that thieves attempting to steal copper from the site caused the inferno.

“It has become apparent that this incident was caused by third-party interference, where thieves were attempting to steal copper wire from the site.


“The overall cost to ESB of this incident is estimated at up to €10m,” last night’s statement said.

ESB Networks has reminded the public and perpetrators of the criminal activity of the dangers of interfering with our electricity infrastructure.

“Such interference is a highly dangerous activity with the perpetrators putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.”

The blaze caused the loss of electricity supply across Inchicore, Lucan, Tallaght and Rathfarnham and other parts of west Dublin for 50 minutes.

Since 2012, over 150km of copper valued at €3m has been stolen, with a replacement cost to ESB Networks at €28m.

The rise in thefts forced the electricity supplier to launch a nationwide campaign last August.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Daithi de Roiste criticised the thieves, and said that a huge number of people were effected by the power-cut.

“This is an utter disgrace. These people are nothing but scumbags who care only about themselves.”

Cllr de Roiste said that some parts of Dublin were thrown into darkness

on Sunday when the fire broke out.

“The amount of people without electricity was phenomenal. The amount of children who went to bed hungry because there was no way of cooking food and all the restaurants were closed.

“The ESB said it cost €10m,  but that doesn’t take account of the money lost by businesses. Managers and owners had to send staff home early because they couldn’t stay open.

“A lot of these staff went without wages.”

Mr de Roiste, who is chairman of the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee, said he would raise the issue with his fellow councillors and senior garda management at their next meeting.

A spokesman for Crimestoppers has confirmed that there will be a reward for information that leads to a prosecution in this case.

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