A state of emergency has been declared in Moore County, North Carolina after attackers took out two major power grids in the state, leaving nearly 45,000 residents without power.
The attack, which took place over the weekend, appeared to be caused by gunmen who fired and took out two major substations in the area in what police are calling a “clear-cut” and “targeted” attack of “deliberate vandalism”.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper took to social media to acknowledge the outage Sunday morning.
I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement about the power outages in Moore County. They are investigating and working to return power to those affected. The state provides support as needed. – RC
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) 4 December 2022
Authorities report that while they are not yet sure what the motive may have been, they are confident that the attacker (or attackers) knew “exactly what they were doing,” according to comments from More County, North Carolina Sherriff Ronnie Fields.
“There was a gate and they went through the gate, got to the substation and shot that too,” Fields said at a news conference. – It was not accidental.
In accordance with the state of emergency rules, residents will be subject to a curfew from 21.00 to 05.00 until the order is cancelled.
Duke Energy said nearly 7,000 customers had power restored as of Monday, noting that the total number of customers without power remains at about 38,000.
The company urged residents to turn off appliances and devices that may have been on before the power cut to avoid an “immediate surge on the system” when power is restored, but acknowledged that it may take some time for power to be restored and people may need to seek “alternative places” to live.
“We are restoring customers where possible, but the damage is beyond repair in some areas. That leaves us with no choice but to replace large pieces of equipment — which is not an easy or quick task,” Duke Energy’s daily chief of emergency management, Jason Hollifield, said in a release. “The company continues to cooperate with local, state and federal agencies on their ongoing investigation into this incident.”
Disruption for most is expected to continue through Thursday as police continue to investigate the incident.