February 7, 2016

Electric board hopes to prevent vandalism with high-tech security cameras

Mark Taylor
The Gardner Electric Utility Board is hoping to deter vandalism at its facilities with high tech security cameras.
Bill Krawczyk, electric utility director, said the cameras are in response to a break-in at a Gardner substation in May that resulted in an hour-long power outage for 2,000 to 2,500 electric customers.
Krawczyk said security cameras had long been a consideration, but “the vandalism put it on the front burner.”
“We should be a whole lot better off certainly than we are now,” he said.
The six cameras cost $3,000 each and are capable of recording for 15 to 17 days at a time and can be triggered by motion.
The “smart” cameras can be programmed to distinguish human beings and vehicles and to notify authorities when someone is on the property after hours.
The cost of monitoring is about $1,000 per year.
“If you avoid some kind of vandalism or theft, that $1,000 is nothing,” Krawczyk said.
Police are still looking for vandals who broke into Gardner’s Substation 2 at Main Street and Moonlight Road on May 29.The culprits cut a hole in the fence surrounding the property, cut locks on electrical boxes and damaged relays and switch gears, shutting off power for a third of Gardner’s electric customers in the process.
The suspects fled the scene when police arrived.
Police believe two persons were involved in the crime and that they were attempting to steal copper from the site.
The subsequent damage caused to the substation forced the electric utility to operate on alternate power for a couple of days after the break-in.
In other business, the board was informed that a “large commercial customer” is considering building a new, 1 million square foot warehouse at Midwest Commerce Center.
The facility would join the 1 million square foot Coleman warehouse on the property southeast of New Century AirCenter.
It would be built on the east side of the property.
Krawczyk said Gardner department heads were asked to write letters summarizing “what they could do” for the customer.
Krawczyk said the potential commercial customer is also considering locations in other cities, but wants to fast track the project and have it built and opened by fall of 2012.
“Maybe it’s the beginning of something good for us.” Krawczyk said.


  1. A similar break-in to the one that happened in Gardner happened in SC the other day. Unfortunately for the person breaking in he died trying to steal cooper.


  2. How many break-ins have we have had like this in the past 10 years and what was the monetary loss?

    Well, I am sure the politicians are busy in the closed door back rooms working on another industrial revenue bond deal where we will lose at least 50% of the taxes the citizens should receive while putting the citizens at risk once again – real good for the school and city needs we have. Bet Sticker will be real excited to hear about this second warehouse that should cause more damage to his property. And Licausi is smiliing like crazy as he anticipates more gold coins for his pockets and bank account. Wonder if the citizens will be excited about all of the costs, roads, maintenance, pollution, crime, etc. that they will be paying for and all for $9 an hour hire and fire jobs with no benefits. I will be waiting to hear about another thief wanting to come here to build some more rentals so he can get his tax credits, etc. and I am sure City Hall will be putting the red carpet out for all of this while they and the citizens continue to see nothing but red in their budget resulting in higher tax bills for them.

  3. I would ask the Electric Board whether they will be offering the leasee of this new warehouse REDUCED electric rates. Bet they will paying less than the average citizen.

  4. It is to the advantage of Gardner citizens to have larger businesses who require a greater amount of Electricity. It is even better if they use that electricity for longer periods of time than just 8am – 5pm. If we have businesses like this we’re able to negotiate with our power suppliers for a greater base load at a cheaper price.

    For instance say there was a large warehousing project in Gardner and Gardner Energy was able to supply the energy to these warehouses that are possibly opened 24-7. GE could (did) negotiate with it’s electric suppliers for cheaper energy, thus lowering the rates of our electricity not only for the warehouses but for the citizens of Gardner as well. This example is just me using my imagination though.

  5. Ryan: Please advise whether Gardner Energy provides electric service to the Coleman warehouse? If so, do they receive reduced electric rates? What other businesses receive reduced electric rates? And if so, has this reduced the rates for Gardner citizens? When will the Gardner citizens receive reduced rates and business receive higher rates since presently the citizens are the ones underwriting the majority of all of the costs I would say?

  6. I can get that information to you, but there will probably be a labor cost to get it. :)

  7. Well, Ryan, you are good at cheap shots along with lies and hate so I would think your services would come cheap and quick. Would question the credibility, however, of your services. What project does Drovetta have you working on now Ryan? Are you going to be the electric guru for the warehouse industry? Tell me how rich I am going to get and how my electric rates are going to plummet…….

  8. Judith you make me smile! I wish I could tell you when the electric rates of Gardner were going to go down. I dread opening up my electric and water bill just as much as you do. I will tell you the people over at Gardner Electric do everything they can to cut costs and provide the best service they possibly can for us. I’m amazed at the progress they have had over the past couple of years. Our electric rates haven’t increased for years and aren’t budgeted to increase for the next 5 years.

  9. Oh, yes, Ryan, I have been using lots of killowats the last few months – are you going to give me a cheaper rate?

    Has Drovetta approached you about getting rid of Fotovich or someone else yet? Who do you have set up to carry the paper for you this time. I am still waiting for you to put names to those anonymous donors on your last campaign finance report………..just love having you and Schultz on that Electric Board……gives me such a feeling of trust and protection of my interests………..

  10. I don’t have any authority to give out cheaper rates and I’m guessing it is pretty difficult to get a cheaper rate, but hey it doesn’t hurt to ask right? What is the worst they could say, NO?

  11. Well, Ryan, you are on the Board – why don’t you get to asking????? Or are you working on another plan to get raises for City employees??? Did Gardner Electric help to pay for the salary study? Did you increase any fees you pay to the city to cover that cost? Like I said before, Ryan, what project does Drovetta have you working on???

  12. To my knowledge the city didn’t increase the franchise fee to GE so I believe it is still the same amount we paid to the city last year.

    As far as your conspiracy theories, I have no comment. Mama said if you don’t have anything nice to say……

  13. Skeptic says:

    Corporate welfare is unfortunately a reality and as much as I hate it it is necessary to bring employers into an area. If Gardner does’t do it another city will and that wont help our town either.

    This is why so many jobs have left our shore.

    Judyth: I am guessing you want the small Gardner of 10 or 20 years ago? It isn’t 1985 and Gardner will keep growing.

  14. Sure, Ryan………tell me some more lies since you are so good at them………

    Skeptic, I would love to see growth but I sure as heck don’t want one of the world’s largest railyards and the hire and fire $9 an hour jobs with no benefits that will only create more social costs for me to pay, high crime area, total loss of quality of life and sky high taxes to underwrite the thieves who don’t pay taxes. I believe an area to live in with good paying jobs that create higher tax revenue, especially sales tax revenue, opportunity for our youth and middle class families, excellent schools with affordable cost that would prepare and enable our youth to have jobs better than $9 an hour in wage and with some benefits, long term stable working environment with good quality of life community would be something working toward. I certainly am not lookng for the small time Gardner of 20 years ago – that would not be providing me with the amenities I enjoy or would enjoy such as the arts, excellent universities, wonderful transportation such as high speed rail, government entities who work for the PEOPLE rather than the thieves and on and on. You must not have been around in 2006 when I wrote a letter to the Gardner News saying instead of the River of Trade, I wanted a River of Culture and Peace since I envisioned a world college of peace on the prairie where that railyard will be where students could come from around the world to exchange cultures which hopefully would promote world peace – students would come to teach as well as learn.

    No, Skeptic, you do not know me or my dreams or for that matter, you don’t know me at all.

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