Bottom line: Power outages can happen anytime and as a result of multiple reasons. Make sure your household is prepared and can make it through a multi-day outage.
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Know Your Threats Message: (Information) North Carolina Power Substation Attacks (40,000 customers without power since 7 pm on Saturday, 3 December 2022). 1. SUMMARY 2. THREAT & TIMELINE 3. PREPARE NOW 4. NEWS LINKS 5. EMA MESSAGE
Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act, causing damage that could take days to repair and leaving tens of thousands of people without electricity.
2. THREAT & TIMELINE:
Below is a timeline of events reported by a local newspaper (The Pilot). The purpose is to give you an idea of potential impacts locally in the event of a power outage in our area (e.g. storm, cyber, sabotage, et cetera) and how it might impact your household.
Timeline from The Pilot (https://www.thepilot.com/.../article_b3b19780-7370-11ed...):
• 8 p.m. (Saturday), Duke energy reported outages starting with more than 2,000 customers (1 household would be on customer, regardless of the size of the family) without power in areas along the U.S. 15-501 and N.C. 24-27 corridor around and in Carthage.
• 8:45 p.m. (Saturday), outages were reported across the southern end of the county, from Vass to Pinebluff, accounting for approximately 12,000 customers. o The outages spread, and less than an hour later, most of the county and some areas outside of its borders were without power.
• 9 p.m. (Saturday), Duke Energy indicated that at least two of the company’s substations were vandalized. He said he did not know the extent of the damage or how the vandalism occurred.
• 10 p.m., At 9:42 p.m., emergency scanner traffic reported several explosions heard in Carthage.
• 10:15 p.m. (Saturday), Chief Mike Cameron of the Southern Pines Fire and Rescue Department confirmed that substations had been shot at. He said the agency is “preparing to be out of power for 24 hours.”
• 10:30 p.m. (Saturday), heavy police presence was around several gun shops and Wal-Mart in Aberdeen around 10:30 p.m. after reports of looting. One woman was detained in front Wal-Mart and police were conducting a headcount of employees outside of the store. o Data from the website poweroutage.us showed that more than 40,600 local electric customers, or about 63.7 percent of the county's customers, were without power was of 10:30 p.m. Saturday. About 38,000 of those customers are Duke Energy subscribers. o In comparison, Clinton County has 17,834 electric customers.
• 11:48 p.m. (Saturday), The Moore County Sheriff’s Office has released a statement saying that it is investigating incidents at multiple electric substations in Moore County that were shot up on Saturday night as a “criminal occurrence,” causing more than half the county’s electric customers to lose power. o According to the press release, shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, “as utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites.“ o ”Moore County Sheriff’s Deputies and various other law enforcement agencies within the county responded to the different areas and are providing further site security,” it went on to say. o Anyone with any information about this act of violence should contact the Moore County Sheriff’s Office at 910-947-2931.
• Midnight (Saturday), a reporter on scene at the Duke Energy substation off N.C. 211 near West Pine Middle School could hear and smell oil leaking from the facility. Workers from Duke Energy and authorities from the sheriff‘s office were scanning the the area for bullet casings and other evidence, and vehicles were going through the woods in search of more evidence at the scene.
• 7 a.m. (Sunday), the gate to the West End substation, off N.C. 211 near West Pine Middle School, is lying on the side of the access road. A pole holding up the gate had clearly been snapped off where it meets the ground. The substation’s infrastructure was heavily damaged, but workers on site declined to comment on the extent.
• 9 a.m. (Sunday), as Moore County residents woke up to dark houses, local businesses began to open up to serve them. Southern Pines Growler Co., Hot Asana Yoga Co., Red’s Corner and the Ice Cream Parlor were among those operating. For updates on community resources.
• 10 a.m. (Sunday), Gov. Roy Cooper’s office issued a statement saying Cooper “has 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.”
• 10:26 am (Sunday), a representative from Moore County Public Utilities, who requested anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the press, said the county is using generators to power sewer and water systems. At this time, he said most systems are up and running. These systems require power to avoid overflow and keep their contents moving. o A Facebook post by Southern Pines Fire and Rescue said “Southern Pines Water and Sewer are operating on generator power and we anticipate no interruption in these services.
• 10:29 a.m. (Sunday), the town of Robbins has power, and everything is operating as normal, according to Town Manager Clint Mack.
• 10:32 a.m. (Sunday), Moore Regional Hospital is “functioning as normal” using backup generators, according to FirstHealth of the Carolinas spokesperson Emily Sloan. o Sloan said the emergency power system is tested on a monthly basis to ensure it will provide a seamless transition, and confirmed the generators were enabled within seconds on Saturday evening. FirstHealth has enough fuel on-site to power the emergency generators for several days. o However, FirstHealth’s three convenient care clinics and its fitness centers in Moore County are without power and not open. o Sloan said they have received some inquiries from individuals who use medical devices that may need to be charged, or patients on oxygen. She said the emergency room is providing assistance, as needed, and that FirstHealth is working on identifying alternative locations where assistance can be provided.
• 10:41 a.m. (Sunday), Moore County Schools said the system is “communicating with Duke Energy and other utility partners to stay informed on their progress for restoring power. If there is any change to the school schedule for tomorrow, we will inform parents via the Communicate system this evening.“
• 10:44 a.m. (Sunday), Aberdeen Town Manager Paul Sabiston says Aberdeen is treating the outage like a storm. First responders are in place and addressing issues and the town’s water and sewer systems are up and running, he said.
• 11:30 a.m. (Sunday), the town of Southern Pines posted to Facebook that ”we recommend preparing for an extended outage, lasting possibly for another 24-48 hours.” The town said its water and sewer system is operating on generator power and no interruption of service is expected. “All non essential services in Southern Pines are closed today, including the Southern Pines library.”
• 11:30 a.m. (Sunday), Harris Teeter announced it would distribute free ice Sunday, while supplies last, for those affected by the power outage. The distribution is occurring at its stores in Taylortown, Carthage and Aberdeen. o Local residents traveling north report heavy traffic from Moore County residents in Biscoe and Sanford, both of which were unaffected by power outages.
• 11:44 a.m. (Sunday), Moore County Sheriff’s Office officials said they would hold a news conference at 4 p.m. at the Rick Rhyne Public Safety Center in Carthage to discuss the outage and ongoing investigation.
• 12:05 p.m. (Sunday), U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose district includes Moore County, said in a statement that both the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and FBI had gotten involved in the power outage. o "Last night, unknown individuals vandalized at least two substations in Moore County with criminal intent. Motive for this crime remains unknown," Hudson said in the statement. "Many Moore County residents remain without power. I want to thank Sheriff Ronnie Fields and all local law enforcement as well as the SBI and FBI for their quick action to respond to the incident."
• 12:15 p.m. (Sunday), following a conference call with county officials Moore County Commissioners chairman Frank Quis said the county was unsure when power will be turned on or when repairs will happen. He said the county “will be declaring a disaster declaration this afternoon.” o County Manager Wayne Vest said it could be Tuesday or later before some residents see power restored. Unlike in ice storms, where some regain power before others, this damage is confined to the substations, meaning large groups of homes will come back online at the same time. o The county plans to open its emergency shelter at the Moore County Sportsplex, off of N.C. 22 and U.S. 15-501 in Carthage at 4 p.m. today. o Commissioner meetings and swearing in ceremonies are still planned for Monday but may be held in a different form depending on the power situation.
• 1:49 p.m. (Sunday), School closure announcements began with an announcement from Marian Kajfez, principal of St. John Paul II Catholic School in Southern Pines, that classes would be canceled for Monday, Dec. 5. Moore County Schools officials are expected to announce their decision later Sunday.
• 2 p.m. (Sunday), working at the Eastwood power substation off Daubs Chapel Road, Aubin Reynolds, a system planning engineer with Randolph Electric Membership Corp., said that whoever attacked the power stations was familiar with the the power company and how the stations were all connected to each other. o Reynolds said the West End power substation, which was heavily damaged, is a transmission substation, which sends power down the line to smaller substations. Hitting that site hard would have a cascading effect of damage, Reynolds said. o He said every available REMC worker and contractor is out working, and the company hopes to restore power later Sunday to some of its customers in the Seven Lakes area. He said crews are actively rebuilding some lines to reroute power. However, he has heard it could be as late as Thursday before full power is restored to all Moore County residents.
• 3:49 p.m. (Sunday), Moore County Schools canceled classes for students and staff for Monday, Dec. 5 because, while some of the northern county schools have power, all operations are affected by the outages in some way. Schools Superintendent Tim Locklair said the district “will be taking it day by day” as far as further cancellations. o In addition, Sandhills Community College has canceled classes for both its Southern Pines and Hoke campus for Monday.
• 4:20 p.m. (Sunday), Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said investigators have found no evidence or reason to believe that the Saturday evening attack was tied to a controversial drag show in downtown Southern Pines. The power went out during the Downtown Divas show at the Sunrise Theater about an hour into the show. Prior to the show, a number of protesters and counter protesters had demonstrated out in front of the theater.
• 4:50 p.m. (Sunday), Non-essential services will be closed on Monday, Dec. 5, including Parks and Recreation programs. The following buildings will also be closed: administration; Campbell House; community development; E.S. Douglass Community Center; finance and utility billing; recreation center; and park restrooms. o The Southern Pines Public Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday Dec. 5 to provide a warm building for the community to use. They will have charging stations available, along with board games, snacks and warm drinks. Typical library services will be unavailable. o The Haney Community Room of the Southern Pines Police Department at 450 W. Pennsylvania Ave. will remain open indefinitely to the public in order to charge electrical devices and get out of the cold. They ask for residents to let the dispatch staff know that they are using the Haney Room. o The specially called meeting of the Town’s Planning Board for Monday at noon has been canceled. The town will share further details, when available, as to a possible reschedule.
• 5:50 p.m. (Sunday), Moore County Transportation Services will be available to take clients scheduled for dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation treatments only. All other Moore County operations are cancelled for Monday, with plans for limited coverage Tuesday. The Board of Commissioners is still scheduled for Monday morning.
• 7:30 p.m. (Sunday), The Village of Pinehurst and the Town of Aberdeen announced the closure of multiple buildings and services for Mon. Dec. 5. o The Village Hall, Public Services, Parks and Recreation, and the library will be closed in the Village of Pinehurst. There will also be no garbage pick-up on Monday because the landfill is closed. o The Pinehurst Fire Station 91, located at 405 Magnolia Road will be open to the public to charge electronic devices between Monday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. o All town non-essential buildings will be closed in Aberdeen, including Parks and Recreation, Town Hall, Finance and Planning.
3. PREPARE NOW:
Power outages can happen at any time, so it is important to be prepared. Outages can range in duration, and for those with reliance on electrically powered medical devices, being prepared is exponentially more important. Take action now to prepare your household and/or business for how to respond to a power outage.
• If you are not signed up for free severe weather and emergency alerts, sign up now. o Emergency Alerts: https://www.cc-ema.org/alerts
• Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.
• Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer, if there’s room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
• Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
• Keep your gas tank in your vehicle at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
• Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage opener is located and know how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
• Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
• Learn more at: https://www.cc-ema.org/power
4. NEWS LINKS:
CBS, Mass Power Outage in North Carolina caused by gunfire, repairs could take days: https://www.cbsnews.com/.../north-carolina-power-outage.../
AP, Shootings at power substations cause North Carolina outages: https://apnews.com/.../vandalism-north-carolina-power...
ABC 11 Eyewitness News, Moore County Schools closed, curfew in place until massive power outage restored: https://abc11.com/moore-county-nc-outage-power.../12527630/
CBS 17 Local News, Nearly 40,000 in the dark as massive power outage hits Moore County; gunfire targeted substations, officials say: https://www.cbs17.com/.../nearly-40000-in-the-dark-as.../
Poweroutage.us tracking: https://poweroutage.us/area/state/north%20carolina
5. EMA MESSAGE: While there is no active threat to the residents of Clinton County for an attack like that of Moore County, NC, we are prone to power outages from other events (i.e. storms, accidents, et cetera). As we move into the winter months, a power outage would impact the ability of most homes to provide heat. Gas systems rely on electrical power to operate fan motors, thermostats, and ignition sources. Take time to ensure your household is prepared in the event of a longer than usual outage any time this winter season.