FBI joins investigation into targeted attack on North Carolina substations

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FBI joins investigation into targeted attack on North Carolina substations

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into a targeted attack against two North Carolina power transmission substations that left tens of thousands without power.

The attack occurred on Saturday night when an unknown assailant or assailants opened fire on two power substations in Moore County, causing a blackout that left over 40,000 residents without power, according to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields, the Pilot reported. The damage from the attack is estimated to be in the millions, and the majority of those affected will remain without power until later in the week. Fields told reporters that the perpetrator will be brought to justice but admitted that they had no clue as to a possible motive or whether the attacker was part of a larger group or not. They have also not announced if they have a suspect. The FBI has stepped in to assist, according to CNN.

“The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing,” Fields said at a Sunday news conference, though he admitted, “We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”

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He also declined to comment as to whether the attack was domestic terror-related but added, “No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept they’re the ones who [did] it.”

With the attacker still at large, Fields declared a countywide curfew, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in order to “protect our citizens and the businesses of our county,” according to the Pilot.

Though Fields declined to give a motive, he dispelled rumors over social media that the attack was intended to stop a local drag show, saying authorities have not come across any leads suggesting as much, according to USA Today.

Moore county officials made a disaster declaration on Sunday. The targeting of the substations has wrought maximum havoc on the power grid, with repair of some parts being impossible.

“Equipment will have to be replaced,” Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy, told the Pilot in an interview. “We’re pursuing multiple paths of restoration so that we can restore as many customers as quickly as possible. Recognizing that, we are looking at pretty sophisticated repair with some fairly large equipment.”

“We were able to get about 7,000 customers back online last night as we were completing repairs on some of the equipment in one of the substations,” he added. “Substations serve, typically, multiple power lines, so it’s possible to make a repair in one portion and get some customers back on and still have work to do in other areas.”

Substations serve a critical role in energy infrastructure, with Brooks comparing it to an off-ramp in a busy interstate.

“The best way to think about the [electric] grid is as a road system,” he said. “If you have transmission lines that deliver power from power plants to local communities, they’re like the interstates of the power grid. They carry voltage that’s hundreds of thousands of volts, and when it gets to the community that voltage needs to be reduced so that it can be distributed throughout the community.”

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Moore County officials opened an emergency shelter in Carthage to shelter those affected by the attack from the frigid winter temperatures.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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