Development of this unique design for a locking removable cover for utility vaults grew out of the increased reported incidence of copper and data theft from underground electrical utility vaults in public and private facilities. In-ground pull and junction boxes create access points for installation, but also create opportunities for thieves to cut and steal the wire from the conduit between the boxes and fixtures. The resulting loss of use is often hazardous and costly. Cost of replacing the wire is substantial and typically far exceeds the value of the material.
A bolt-down system is the typical accepted “security” solution from utility vault manufacturers. A single bolt location is used on one side of the cover. A bolt is threaded into a bracket attached to the inside of the box. In this system, theft deterrence is accomplished by using fasteners with uncommon drive systems. This system remains problematic for two reasons:
To date, retrofitting and securing existing utility vaults in the field is difficult in that at least one additional bracket for bolting the cover to the box would be needed, and the cover would also need to be field-drilled to match the location of the additional bracket. Unique, customer-specific drive patterns for security bolts would be needed to deter unlocking with a commercially available socket, key, or driver. The cost effectiveness of having municipal or private maintenance crews performing these modifications to the boxes and covers, and sourcing unique custom-made fasteners for use throughout the company or agency are likely to be impractical and more expensive than installing a pre-made product that addresses all of these issues.
Our system is designed to be used in existing installed utility vaults with or without installed internal angle brackets, or in new boxes without any modification to the box. Our locking utility vault cover simply replaces the original cover and tightens in place with simple hand tools and successfully addresses all the issues described above.
The heart of the Cobalt Lid is our locking apparatus comprised of: