A state of emergency has been declared in Moore County, North Carolina as power outages continueTwo sub-stations were damaged in firing over the weekend. The attack left about 45,000 people without power in North Carolina.
Under the state of emergency, a curfew is in effect from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every night, and residents of the district are encouraged to conserve fuel.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the company had restored power to about 7,000 customers Monday. About 38,000 people are without power, and full restoration won’t happen until Wednesday or Thursday, Brooks said. A Press release As shared earlier in the day, Duke Energy General Manager Jason Holyfield said “the damage in some areas is irreparable.”
“It’s no choice but to replace major equipment — it’s not an easy or quick task,” Holifield said.
The outage also damaged sewage pumps in the area and closed schools in the area. Traffic lights are also off. Emergency shelters are open to the public.
In Carthage, residents Steve and Meg Wilkins’ unheated home dropped to 55 degrees.
“This is not what I wanted to do today or last night or the night before,” Steve Wilkins said. “Stringing power cords. Eating cold ham.”
According to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields, police were first notified of the power outage just after 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 3rd. Fields said Sunday that when utility companies responded to the substations, “evidence of intentional vandalism was discovered at several sites.”
A A press conference was held on Sunday afternoon, the fields reported that there was damage due to firing. Fields said the scenario was similar at both sites, with the attacks being “targeted” and carried out by a person or people who “knew exactly what they were doing”.
No motive has been released for the attack, which is being investigated as a criminal act. At Sunday’s press conference, Fields could not say if the incident rose to the level of domestic terrorism.
On Monday afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas said the attack “appears to be deliberate.”
“We are working with energy companies in local communities to address situations that affect power reaching homes in targeted neighborhoods,” Mayorkas said. “The question is, was it an act of malpractice or otherwise? Initial evidence suggests it was deliberate. And the investigation is ongoing.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Charlotte, North Carolina office is also investigating the attack. On Sunday, the FBI office told CBS News there was “intentional damage to law enforcement facilities,” but declined to comment further because the investigation is ongoing.
On Monday afternoon, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the attack a “criminal act” at a press conference.
“This was a deliberate attack that caused significant harm to people,” Cooper said.
In January, a Department of Homeland Security bulletin, obtained by CBS News, stated that domestically violent extremists “have developed credible, specific plans to attack power infrastructure since at least 2020, finding the power grid a particularly attractive target.” But DHS has not released any reports linking the current situation in Moore County to terrorism.
There are about 55,000 substations in the United States. Earlier this year”“They were often told how vulnerable they were.
“There are very few substations you have to take out in the entire United States to knock out the entire grid,” John Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, told “60 Minutes” reporter Bill Whittaker.
CBS News’ Mark Strassman and Nicole Scanga contributed reporting.