After ” targeted assaults” on two substations during the weekend, thousands of North Carolina residents were left without heat and light for the third day. Schools across the county were also shut down and outages were reported.
According to Duke Energy’s online service outage tracker, Moore County still had 34,000 customers without power as of Tuesday afternoon. It serves 47,018 customers in the county.
Duke stated that crews were making progress on substation repairs in Moore County. “Our technicians are still working in 24-hour shifts, and we will be able to restore service by Thursday morning.”
After a suspect was alleged of driving up to Duke Energy power substations Saturday night, opening fire and disabling them. This caused the outages and plunged tens of thousands into a blackout.
On Monday night, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper stated that the attack “raises a new level”
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields stated that the attacks on the substations in West End, Carthage and Carthage were targeted. However, the motive for the attacks is not known.
One theory that the outages were intended to stop a drag performance which had been subject to backlash and protests has spread through social media.
Fields stated Monday that authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a connection.
Fields stated that they are currently looking at all options. Fields stated that there is absolutely nothing on the table. “We’re looking into all possible leads.”
He said that federal and state law enforcement agencies have cooperated with him and that there are no stones that they’re not leaving unturned. The FBI and state investigators joined the investigation to determine who and why the attacks occurred.
The county was placed under a state of emergency, which included a 9 p.m.- 5 a.m. curfew. Shelters were provided for anyone who needed electricity to heat or for medical devices.
Schools remained closed Tuesday, however.
Moore County Schools stated in a tweet Monday that “Due to the ongoing widespread power outage and Moore County Schools operations,” all schools would be closed Tuesday.
According to the announcement, it would be announced by 4 p.m. on Tuesday regarding whether schools will remain closed on Wednesday.
Duke Energy released a Monday statement stating that crews had restored power to thousands customers after the attack on the substations. However, the company cautioned that outages could continue until Thursday.
“We are working to restore customers wherever possible, but some areas of damage are beyond repair.” We are forced to replace large pieces or equipment, which is not an easy task. This was stated by Jason Hollifield (Duke Energy’s general manager for emergency preparation), in a statement.
According to the company, electric substations are crucial in delivering electricity to customers. They regulate voltage from generation sources (like power stations) and lower it so that energy can be delivered to homes or businesses.
Customers were asked to turn off any appliances or other electrical devices that had been turned on during the outage so that there is no surge in power after the restoration of power.
The company stated that customers affected by outages should consider moving their family members, especially those with special needs, to another safe location. This is because of the expected time it takes to restore service fully.
The company stated that it would continue to collaborate with federal, state, and local agencies in the ongoing investigation into this incident.
Mirna Alsharif contributed.