Moore County Sheriff: 'Coward' Shot Up Two Electrical Substations, Causing Days-Long Blackout

Susan Jones | December 5, 2022 | 6:25am EST
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Someone shot up a Duke Energy substation on Saturday night. (Photo: Screen capture/WRAL TV)
Someone shot up a Duke Energy substation on Saturday night. (Photo: Screen capture/WRAL TV)

( - Someone attacked two electrical substations in Moore County, North Carolina on Saturday night, firing bullets at the equipment and plunging some 45,000 customers into darkness.

The damage is expected to take days to repair. The FBI is among the agencies investigating the attack.

And just a reminder: This past January, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a bulletin that "domestic extremists" have "developed credible, specific plans to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2020, identifying the electric grid as a particularly attractive target given its interdependency with other infrastructure sectors.”

At a press conference on Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields couldn't say if this is a case of domestic terrorism: "Coward is what I'd call it," he said.

"This individual that done this -- it was targeted, it wasn't random," Fields said. He called it a "very serious situation," and he announced a 9 pm to 5 am. curfew.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, “Just after 7 pm on Saturday evening, December 3, 2022, several different communities across Moore County began experiencing power outages. As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites."

The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information “about this act of violence” to contact them.

At Sunday's news conference, a spokesman for Duke Energy said "multiple pieces of equipment" were damaged, and some of that equipment will have to be replaced.

"We are looking at a pretty sophisticated repair, with some fairly large equipment," the Duke Energy's Jeff Brooks said, adding that residents should be prepared for a "multi-day repair," until Thursday at least. Some of the equipment will have to be replaced.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted, "I've been in contact w/ @DukeEnergy about the vandalism causing power outages for customers in Moore County, NC and the @DOE_CESER team is working w/ federal partners. Law enforcement is investigating this serious incident and Duke is working around the clock to restore service."

The sheriff said the culprits drove up to the substations and went through a gate to fire the shots.

On a possibly related note, the New York Police Department tweeted the following advisory Monday morning: "@ConEdison will be conducting a helicopter patrol of overhead transmission facilities/lines today from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The blue & white helicopter, tail #402 TD, will patrol the areas from Dover to Pleasant Valley & all areas south towards & including Staten Island."

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