MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — Vandalism may have been the cause of a major power outage in a North Carolina county on Saturday night, authorities said.
Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy, said the power in Moore County shut down at about 8 p.m. EST, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.
Update 5:29 p.m. EST Dec. 4: A state of emergency was declared after the power grid was ‘intentionally attacked’ causing a major power outage in Moore County. A curfew is also in effect.
The Moore County Sheriff’s Office confirmed those details in a news conference Sunday evening, WSOC-TV reported.
“We faced something last night in Moore County we’ve never faced before,” Sheriff Ronnie Field told reporters at a Sunday news conference.
Fields told reporters that firearms were used to shoot and disable equipment at two substations in Moore County, according to WSOC.
Original report: More than 39,000 customers were affected, and Brooks said crews found “multiple equipment failures” at several substations that appeared to be intentional, according to the newspaper.
The outage “is being investigated as a criminal occurrence,” the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
A Duke Energy outage map Saturday night showed 37,998 customers without power in Moore County, WRAL-TV reported. The Randolph Electric Membership Corporation also reported nearly 3,000 customers without power in the southern part of the county, according to the television station
As of Sunday at 8 a.m. EST, 38,890 people were still without power, according to the outage map.
Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted that the state is providing support where it is needed, WSOC-TV reported.
I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement officials about the power outages in Moore County. They are investigating and working to return electricity to those impacted. The state is providing support as needed. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 4, 2022
The outage hit Moore Regional Hospital, which switched to generator power, The News & Observer reported.
“The Moore campus is safely operating on backup generator power and we have not experienced any issues or concerns,” spokesperson Gretchen Kelly said.
Power is not expected to be “fully restored” until about 10 p.m., Kelly told the newspaper.
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