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Repairs complete on Moore County substations, power restored

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Duke Energy's Carthage and West End substations in Moore County, N.C., were damaged in Saturday's gunfire attack.

Duke Energy on Wednesday morning finished repairing and testing two electrical substations in Moore County that were damaged by gunfire Saturday. The company says just over 10,000 customers remained without power as of midday, and those were expected to be brought back online over the afternoon and evening.

The substations were knocked out in attacks that cut power to about 45,000 customers initially. About 10,000 had been restored by Monday night, but Duke Energy said it needed to replace heavy equipment to get the bulk of customers back online. With the substation equipment now up and running, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said workers are restoring power systematically.

"We're bringing them on in waves of several thousand at a time. And that's important, because we want to make sure that the restoration is done methodically so that it stays reliable as we're bringing more customers back on," Brooks said at midday Wednesday. "(We're) making sure that we can complete this in a way that doesn't doesn't add any more disruption."

He says all customers should have power back by midnight Wednesday. According to Duke Energy's power outage map, there were no outages in Moore County as of 4 a.m. Thursday.

"We're certainly glad that we can get to this point that we can bring all the remaining customers back on. We hope to return the sense of normal back to the community," Brooks said.

Authorities still haven't identified suspects in the attack, or said what they think was the motive. The FBI this morning issued an alert asking people to offer tips at either the FBI.gov website or by calling the Moore County Sheriff's Office at (910-947-4444.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that the state, Moore County and Duke Energy are offering rewards of up to $25,000 each, for a total of $75,000, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

"An attack on our critical infrastructure will not be tolerated," said Cooper, in a statement. "I appreciate the coordinated efforts of law enforcement to leave no stone unturned in finding the criminals who did this and I thank Moore County and Duke Energy for matching the state’s reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible."

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.