'Violence and sabotage will not be tolerated': Gov. Cooper addresses Moore County substation attacks
Updated at 5:45 p.m.
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Governor Roy Cooper — along with state and county officials — delivered an update on the attacks at two substations in Moore County that left approximately 45,000 Duke Energy customers without power on Saturday evening.
"This kind of attack raises a new level of threat," Cooper said. "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."
The governor told reporters that a motive has not yet been confirmed for the shootings.
"Regardless of motive, violence, and sabotage will not be tolerated," he said.
Jeff Brooks, from Duke Energy: "As a reminder, we had about 45,000 customers that were impacted by this incident." Says that service was restored to 7,000 customers last night. "For the majority, these outages will continue." Says it could extend Wednesday into Thursday.— WUNC (@wunc) December 5, 2022
Two substations were attacked and "the effect of that ultimately resulted in the larger outage that affected 45,000 [customers], which is nearly all the customers that Duke Energy serves in Moore County," said Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields reconfirmed that the "damage was done by firearms." Whether both substations were attacked simultaneously is still under investigation, he said.
On Sunday night, power was restored to 7,000 Duke Energy customers in the county, said Brooks. According to Duke Energy's outage map, more than 32,000 customers remain without power as of 4:30 p.m. Monday.
In a public alert, Duke Energy said that equipment is needed in "some areas where damage is beyond repair" and that technicians are working in 24-hour shifts to bring back service.
"But we could still see this extend Wednesday into Thursday," said Brooks.
Duke Energy will donate $100,000 to assist the community.
"We'll be working with organizations like the Red Cross and other groups to help to help address where we need to be," said Brooks.
An emergency shelter has been set up at the Moore County Sports Complex Recreation Center at 155 Hillcrest Park Lane, Carthage, N.C. More information about the shelter is available at 910-947-6317.
A multitude of state and local agencies are involved in responding to the attacks. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is "fully engaged with personnel and resources," said NCDPS Secretary Eddie Buffaloe. State Highway Patrol, the Division of Emergency Management, Alcohol Law Enforcement are also involved in the response.
The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting the FBI as well as the Moore County Sheriff's Office to investigate, said Buffaloe.
Due to the continuing widespread power outage in Moore County and on Moore County Schools operations, all schools will be closed to all students and staff on Tuesday, December 6.— Moore County Schools (@MooreSchools) December 5, 2022
We will announce the status for schools for Wednesday by 4 p.m. tomorrow.
Moore County Schools will be closed again Tuesday to all students and staff due to the ongoing power outage. School officials say they're assessing the situation and will announce by 4 p.m. Tuesday whether or not schools will reopen on Wednesday.
Sheriff Fields is asking those with any information about the attacks to call a tip line set up through the Moore County Sheriff's Office at 910-947-4444.
WUNC's Liz Schlemmer contributed to this report.