U.S.

Thousands Are Still Without Power After Outage In North Carolina

Saturday evening, someone shot at two power substations, knocking out electricity for some 45,000 North Carolinians.

Thousands Are Still Without Power After Outage In North Carolina
John Nagy / AP
SMS

In Moore County, North Carolina, about an hour south of Raleigh, tens of thousands of people are still without power and the person or persons who caused the outage is still on the loose.  

"Our investigators continue to work long hours. Nothing really new in the investigation to tell you," said Richard Maness, chief sheriff's deputy for Moore County. 

Saturday evening, someone shot at two power substations, knocking out electricity for some 45,000 North Carolinians — leaving many without the ability to shower, cook or warm up their homes. 

"It’s been hell. In the cold, couldn’t eat, couldn’t cook, nothing," said James Wall, a resident. 

For some, the power has returned in just two to three hour increments, leaving residents scrambling to prepare for the the next outage.  

"We’re able to get it for three hours at a time and then they cut it back off again. We try to get as much done as we can in that three hours then it went back out again," said Heidi Thompson, a resident. 

All across Moore County, volunteers have been handing out water and hot meals to residents. Russell Rowland, a local pastor, says his organization served 3,000 meals Tuesday alone. 

Power Outages Could Last Days After Shootings At Substations

Power Outages Could Last Days After Shootings At Substations

In response to ongoing outages in Moore County, North Carolina, officials announced a state of emergency, and schools were closed Monday.

LEARN MORE

"We’re on tap to do 3,000 meals tomorrow just trying to help those who don’t have a means or a way to eat," said Rowland. 

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday he had a meeting scheduled on the attack. The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, says the attack highlights the vulnerability of utilities and the need to step up security. 

"Protecting critical infrastructure like our power system must be a top priority. This kind of attack raises a new level of threat. We will be evaluating ways to work with our utility providers and our state and federal officials to make sure that we harden our infrastructure where that's necessary and work to prevent future damage," said Cooper.  

Dr. Joshua Rhodes, an energy researcher and scientist, says security for these facilities has long focused on cyber threats while neglecting the possibility of physical attacks.   

"Generally when we’re talking about security around the grid, we’re talking about cyber security but it’s pretty easy for physical attacks on our infrastructure," said Rhodes. 

During a press conference, Duke Energy the main electricity provider for the area, announced there were still 35,000 residents without power. The company expects all power to be restored overnight Wednesday. 

James Wall says his power came back on Tuesday morning. 

"I jumped up made some coffee, I was getting ready to take a shower but it was still cold," said Wall.