Criminal investigation is ongoing a month after Moore County power grid attack

Monique John Image
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Investigation continues in Moore County grid attack
One expert told ABC11 that the Moore County incident will hopefully have a massive ripple effect, boosting the power grid's security for years to come.

MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Questions about the security of the country's electric grid have come back to the forefront after more power substations were vandalized in the state of Washington on Christmas day.

The attack left 14,000 customers without power in the Tacoma Public Utilities and Puget Sound Energy System.

Almost a month after a similar, even more, widespread attack in Moore County, officials said there is still an ongoing criminal investigation. One expert told ABC11 that the incident will hopefully have a massive ripple effect, boosting the power grid's security for years to come.

"You're going to see companies make more security recommendations," said Jason Tyson, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Insurance. "Energy companies are going to have to look at more ways to secure their assets."

The Moore County attack shined a light on just how vulnerable the power grid is. Ever since, state leaders such as Gov. Roy Cooper and Congressman Richard Hudson have been looking at reforms like strengthening infrastructure, grid resiliency and supply chains. They're also exploring issuing steeper penalties for anyone who compromises the power grid.

The Moore County Sheriff's office has been offering $75,000 as a reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person or people who attacked Duke Energy's power grid. The attack left 45,000 people in the dark for almost a week.

Though this devastated thousands of people in the area, Tyson says there is support. The DOI has launched special services to delay insurance premium payments, offer food spoilage support and expand special enrollment for those in Moore County affected by the power grid attack.

"We're here to support you," Tyson said. "The Department of Insurance wants to work with anyone who has special circumstances and is willing to listen and be an advocate, and help you make your decisions."

The Moore County Sheriff's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have been involved with the investigation.