Saturday’s widespread blackout in a county in central North Carolina is being investigated as a possible crime, officials said.
According to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, the power outage – which left at least 40,000 customers without power and put wastewater pumps out of order across the region – may have been caused by “intentional vandalism” that killed “many” people. Damaged electric substations.
In an announcement quoting the county sheriff, Ronnie Fields, the office confirmed that “the massive power outage throughout the county is being investigated as a criminal incident” late Saturday. The announcement came hours after Moore County residents reported a power outage around 7 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.
“As utility companies began responding to various substations, evidence was found that intentional vandalism had occurred at several sites,” the office said, adding that Moore County Sheriff’s deputies and various other law enforcement agencies within the county responded separately. lamps. area and are providing further site security.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the alleged incident, which the sheriff’s office described as an “act of violence,” to contact them.
Power was not restored in Moore County as of Sunday morning, when Duke Energy and Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, the two power companies serving the area, continued to report about 37,000 and 3,000 outages, respectively. According to census data, the number of reported outages is roughly equal to the number of homes in Moore County.
The outage also affected the county’s sewer lift stations, and the city of Southern Pines urged people to refrain from driving as there had been “several accidents” during the first few hours of the blackout.
,[W]We would like to inform you that due to a Moore County wide power outage our sewer lift stations are currently closed. “Please limit your water and sewer use to absolutely necessary until these stations are back in operation,” the city wrote in a statement shared to Facebook.
“If you are in a safe location, we also recommend staying off the roads,” the statement continued. “There have been many accidents.”