Gunfire damages North Carolina substation but doesn't cause power outage

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Gunfire damages NC substation but doesn't cause power outage
RAW VIDEO: The Pleasant Hill Substation in Thomasville was damaged by a gunshot Tuesday.

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- A North Carolina utility said an electricity substation was damaged by gunfire early Tuesday but that it caused no power outages.

The damage comes after a gunfire attack on multiple substations in Moore County knocked out power to more than 45,000 customers for several days in early December. There have been no arrests in those shootings.

EnergyUnited said that an alarm early Tuesday alerted it to an equipment problem at the Pleasant Hill Substation in Randolph County. It said crews found damage to the substation at the Post Road location in Thomasville, from an apparent gunshot and that law enforcement had been notified.

Investigators said they believe the attack occurred around 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from the Randolph County Sheriff's Office. The State Bureau of Investigation was notified, and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to conduct a parallel investigation.

READ MORE: Moore County Congressman urging Capitol Hill to focus on securing power grids after attack

The FBI is still seeking information related to the substation attacks in Moore County, which sparked widespread concern about vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure.

While Gov. Roy Cooper said the attacks last month in central North Carolina raised "a new level of threat," federal authorities and cybersecurity experts have long warned that the U.S. power grid could be a prime target for attacks.

Power equipment in Washington, Oregon and Nevada also has been vandalized in recent months.

Lawmakers and public officials in affected states are calling for increased security around electrical substations. But experts have cautioned the vastness of the power grid makes it difficult to protect.

EnergyUnited Electric Membership Corporation serves customers in parts of 19 North Carolina counties and said it is collaborating with federal, state and local officials to share information and strengthen critical systems.

"EnergyUnited continually strives to deliver safe, reliable energy to its members," said Steve McCachern, its vice president of energy delivery. "While we are glad that our members did not experience any service interruptions, we take this matter very seriously and are currently investigating the incident."