Thieves steal copper wire from electric vehicle charging stations

City officials for Minneapolis say 2023 was the most challenging year when it came to copper wire thefts. Copper thieves targeted street lights and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, resulting in one man being hit by a car due to pitch-black conditions on the street and frustrated EV drivers pulling up to a charging station only to realize it was out of order.

So far, Minneapolis has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace streetlights after the copper wiring was stolen. The city has also been forced to replace 46 EV charging cords, which typically cost $1,000, bringing the city’s total to about $46,000 for 2023.

Not only have the thefts been expensive, they have also inconvenienced EV drivers. According to an article in the Star Tribune:

As an apartment renter in Uptown, Hornberger doesn’t have a place to plug in at home. The city-operated charger near W. 25th Street and Aldrich Avenue S. is a lifeline, but cords there have been cut twice in the past few months, including two weeks ago, she said.

“It’s a little frustrating because I need extra time to find a charger that works,” Hornberger said. “There have been some knuckle-clenching moments. Am I going to make it? You have to have a back-up.”

We can expect this trend to continue in the future as government policies mandate and subsidize the use of wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles, thus boosting the demand for copper. On the other hand, liberal policymakers like President Biden have restricted America’s production of copper by blocking key mining projects in Minnesota, Alaska, and Arizona.

Mandating the use of copper while restricting its production will put upward pressure on prices. An analysis from Citibank estimates copper prices could surge to $15,000 U.S. a ton in 2025, 40 percent higher than the record $10,730 U.S. per ton.

Government policies always have unintended consequences, and rising copper thefts appear to be one of the fruits of mandating the use of more copper, restricting supply, and having a soft-on-crime approach.