In response to ongoing power shortages caused by a “deliberate” attack over the weekend in which gunfire destroyed two substations, Moore County, North Carolina, has declared a state of emergency. In North Carolina, the attack left about 45,000 people without electricity.
A curfew is in effect from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every night throughout the emergency, and county residents are urged to save fuel.
Duke Energy’s Jeff Brooks announced Monday that the firm has brought back power to around 7,000 customers. Approximately 38,000 people are still without power, and according to Brooks, a complete restoration won’t likely occur until Wednesday or Thursday. Duke Energy general manager Jason Hollifield stated that “the damage is beyond repair in some regions” in a press release released earlier in the day.
According to Hollifield, that leaves us with no choice except to replace concrete equipment, which is not a simple or quick task.
In addition, the outage has left wastewater pumps in the region inoperable and forced the closure of county schools. Additionally, the traffic lights are not working. Public access to emergency shelters has been granted.
The temperature in Steve and Meg Wilkins’ unheated home in Carthage has dropped to 55 degrees.
Steve Wilkins stated, “This is not what I wanted to be doing today, last night, or the night before. “tying up electrical wires. consume cold ham.”
According to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields, power outages were initially reported to the police on Saturday, Dec. 3, shortly after 7:00 p.m. Utility companies reacted to the substations, and Fields said on Sunday that they found “evidence that indicated that intentional vandalism had happened at many sites.”
Fields held a press conference Sunday afternoon where he claimed that gunfire was to blame for the damage. Assaults were “targeted” and carried out by someone or something who “knew precisely what they were doing,” according to Fields, who said that the scenario was the same at both locations.
The incident, which is being looked into as a criminal act, has no stated reason. If the act qualifies as domestic terrorism, Fields was unable to state so during his press conference on Sunday.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security secretary, addressed the issue on Monday afternoon and stated that the attack “appears to have been deliberate.”
“We are addressing the issue affecting the power that reaches houses in the targeted neighborhoods,” Mayorkas said. “We are engaging with energy firms in local towns.” “Is it an act of misconduct or something else, is the question. Early indications point to intentionality. The probe is also ongoing.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Charlotte, North Carolina, division is also investigating the attack. The FBI office told CBS News on Sunday that it was “investigating the purposeful damage to electrical facilities” nearby, but it would not elaborate further due to the continuing nature of the probe.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina described the incident as a “criminal act” in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Cooper stated that “this was a planned attack that seriously injured individuals.”
Domestic violent extremists “have established credible, specific plans to attack power infrastructure since at least 2020, identifying the electric grid as a particularly desirable target,” according to a Department of Homeland Security bulletin acquired by CBS News in January. DHS, however, hasn’t made any statements tying the current events in Moore County to radicalism.
There are about 55,000 substations in the US. The vulnerability they frequently experience was covered by “60 Minutes” earlier this year.
According to Jon Wellinghoff, a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, “you only need to take out a very small number of substations in the United States to knock out the entire grid” (’60 Minutes’ correspondent Bill Whitaker).
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