Saturday’s extensive blackout in a county in central North Carolina is being examined as a possible crime, according to officials.
According to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, the power outages, which affected at least 40,000 customers and rendered wastewater pumps inoperable throughout the region, may have been caused by “intentional vandalism” that destroyed “several” electric substations.
Saturday night, the county sheriff’s office stated in a statement attributed to Ronnie Fields that “the countywide power outage is being investigated as a criminal incident.” According to the sheriff’s office, the declaration was made hours after Moore County residents began reporting power outages about 7 p.m.
“As utility companies began responding to the various substations, evidence of intentional vandalism at multiple sites was discovered,” the office stated, adding that “Moore County Sheriff’s Deputies and various other law enforcement agencies within the county responded to the various areas and are providing additional site security.”
Anyone with information regarding the alleged event, which the sheriff’s office described as a “violent act,” is asked to call the police.
As of Sunday afternoon, Duke Energy and Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, two area-serving electricity utilities, continued to report around 37,000 and 3,000 outages, respectively, in Moore County. According to census statistics, the number of reported outages closely corresponds to the number of homes in Moore County.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina stated on Sunday that he had contacted with Duke Energy and state law enforcement, who were still attempting to restore electricity.
Cooper tweeted, “I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement officers on the power outages in Moore County.” “They are conducting an investigation and attempting to restore power to those affected. The state provides assistance when required.”
The outages also disrupted the county’s sewer lift stations, and the municipality of Southern Pines encouraged residents not to drive since “several accidents” had happened within the first few hours of the blackout.
“As a result of the extensive power loss in Moore County, our sewage lift stations are temporarily inoperable. Please restrict your water and sewage consumption to the bare minimum until these stations are operating again “The municipality stated in a Facebook post.
The warning said, “We also recommend keeping off the roadways if you are in a safe area.” There have been a number of accidents.
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