Power in Moore County, North Carolina, where about 45,000 people were left in the dark by an “intentional” attack on two regional substations, is expected to be fully restored late Wednesday, officials said Wednesday. Initial estimates put the time for full restoration as late as Thursday, five days after the outage began.
The Moore County outage was first reported Saturday evening, according to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields. Fields said on Sunday that two substations had been damaged by gunfire in what it described as “deliberate vandalism”.
Because equipment was damaged and needed to be replaced, the timeline for turning power back on has been longer than it would otherwise be in an emergency, said representatives from Duke Energy, the utility company that serves most of the county. .
By Wednesday evening, power had been restored to around 10,000 customers. At a press conference Tuesday, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the timeline had been extended until Wednesday night, just before midnight. But Brooks cautioned that re-engaging customers won’t be as simple as flipping a switch.
Brooks said, “We’ve made great progress today… It’s a very complex process that involves equipment that has been moved and set up.” “It’s there, but now we’re going through the process of calibrating it and testing it and getting it ready to synchronize with the electric grid, which is a very complicated process.”
Brooks said customers can expect power to be restored in “waves” of a few thousand times. Electricity workers are working round the clock, he said, adding that many people live and work in the community. Duke Energy is also working with local, state and federal authorities to investigate the attacks on the substations.
ain Moore County through Sunday. Power outages have crippled the city’s wastewater plant and closed schools. On Tuesday, Moore County Superintendent of Schools Tim Locklear said the district was hoping to resume normal operations by Friday.
The county is investigating a death that officials said may be related to the blackout after a woman was found dead in a home without power. No cause of death was given during Tuesday’s press conference.
No motive has been given for the attack, which is being investigated as a criminal act.
On Monday afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas addressed the situation, saying the attack “appears to be intentional.”
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety told CBS News in a statement Tuesday that it remains “extremely vigilant” in its efforts to secure power stations around the state.
“Our law enforcement agencies are engaged with our local, state and federal partners to ensure the safety of our critical infrastructure,” said Clyde Roper, Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations.