Targeted Attack on North Carolina's Power Grid Could Leave Thousands in the Dark for Days
December 4, 2022
Officials cautioned residents of Moore County, North Carolina, to prepare for days without electricity after a targeted attack on substations that left 45,000 customers in the dark.
North Carolina residents were left without power in two counties — 55% in Moore and 1% in neighboring Hoke — after a targeted attack on multiple power substations.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said a suspect or suspects drove up to two Duke Energy power substations Saturday night — breaching a gate in one case — and opened fire, disabling them and resulting in a blackout for tens of thousands that could last through Thursday.
As of Monday at 11:25 a.m., over 36,000 customers remained without power, according to Poweroutage.us.
The substations are located in West End and Carthage, North Carolina, and are about 5 miles away from each other, according to Maj. Andy Conway with the Moore County Sheriff's Office.
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The FBI and state investigators have joined the inquiry to determine who was behind the attack, officials said, as a state of emergency with a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m curfew was declared in the county, schools were declared closed for Monday and shelter was set up for those who need electricity for medical devices or heating.
The curfew is set to expire on Friday at 5 p.m.
The low temperature overnight in the region was expected to reach about 30, according to the National Weather Service.
"I appreciate the swift response from local and state emergency responders in Moore County to protect public safety and work with Duke Energy to restore power," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet on Sunday. "An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, intentional crime and I expect state and federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible to justice."
Asked at a Sunday news conference if the substation attacks constitute domestic terrorism, Fields said such a determination would be under the purview of federal law enforcement.
In a statement, the FBI's Charlotte, N.C., field office confirmed its involvement in the investigation and called the attacks on the substations "willful damage."
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