| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

North Carolina county still in dark after attack on power substations

In North Carolina, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were still without electricity on Tuesday as officials looked into what they are describing as a planned gunshot attack that took out two substations.

In response to the attack, “a serious national dialogue” about safeguarding vital infrastructure is required, according to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday.

More than 35,000 customers in Moore County, where the FBI, the U.S. Department of Energy, local and state law enforcement agencies, and the area’s power provider Duke Energy Corp. were without power on Tuesday morning while looking into Saturday’s shootings at the substations, according to Duke Energy Corp.

Investigators were “leaving no stone unturned,” Cooper told CNN. “This was a malicious criminal attack on the entire community that plunged tens of thousands of people into darkness.”

“This is unacceptable to have this many people without power for this long,” Cooper said. “It was clear that they knew how to cause significant damage and that they could do it at this substation, so we have to reassess the situation.”

Schools across the county of 100,000 people canceled classes for a second day on Tuesday while a curfew was in place overnight amid freezing nighttime temperatures.

On Saturday night, utility workers investigating reports of widespread outages found gates broken and evidence of gunfire damage to equipment at two substations in the county. The area is popular with tourists and known for golf resorts including Pinehurst, which has hosted the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup tournaments.

The only information the authorities are releasing about the inquiry is that guns were used to cause the damage. According to Sheriff Ronnie Fields on Monday, whoever planned the strikes understood how to destroy the substations.

From a total of 45,000 customers who had lost power following the shootings, Duke Energy reported on Monday afternoon that it had now restored power to around 7,000 of them. According to firm spokesman Jeff Brooks on Monday, that amounted to almost all of the clients the business handled in Moore County.

Power outages for the majority of consumers are anticipated to last through Wednesday or Thursday because to the substantial damage to the substations that necessitates expensive replacement parts, according to Brooks.

  • Reuters