After Moore County sabotage, how secure is N.C.’s power grid? | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Bass.

    Downtown Southern Pines looks more like a scene out of an apocalyptic cable TV series than a charming, southern golf community filled with retirees and vacationers.

    That's because Southern Pines - and large swaths of Moore County more broadly - remain in the dark four days after vandals fired guns at electric grid substations to cause the outages. Around 35,000 residents in Moore County remain without power, according to Duke Energy's outage map.

    Officials confirmed Tuesday that one Moore County person died in a Pinehurst home during the power outage. Investigators are working to determine whether the death was related to the power outage. If it was, the culprits could face elevated charges that carry a sentence of life in prison.

    The utility company estimated that electricity could be mostly restored Wednesday night.

    Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon details on the investigation, but so far officials say the attack was targeted. State and federal law enforcement officials have joined the case.

    "This type of violence and sabotage will not be tolerated in North Carolina," tweeted N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday morning.

    "This is a criminal act and it appears to be a willful, intentional, and malicious act," state Sen. Tom McGinnis, R-Moore County, told media at the press conference Sunday night. "The perpetrator will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

    As the search continues for the perpetrators, the attack is raising questions about power grid security across North Carolina and whether similar attacks could continue in the future. The threat not only comes in the form of physical attacks against pieces of infrastructure but in cyber-attacks as well.

    "Physical attacks on electric power infrastructure and assets ... are on the rise," according to a 2021 report from SERC Reliability Corporation. The report also noted the dire threat of cyber-attacks. The group is in touch with the Moore County investigators and, in a recent report, pointed out some weak points in the system including the need for more visual inspections and photo/video record of the substations, plus better better communication with local officials before there is a crisis.

    With the Moore County attacks, power grid safety could be on the agenda for the upcoming long session of the General Assembly convening in January.

    "The outages in Moore County have impacted tens of thousands of North Carolinians, so we will certainly be looking at all available options to better ensure something like this does not happen in the future," said Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, in a statement to Carolina Journal. "It remains to be seen whether this is a state legislative issue or whether it's a federal critical infrastructure issue. As more information comes out, we will continue to evaluate potential preventive measures."

    "Just as there are evil, cowardly people who have attacked our schools, we now have people who have attacked our critical infrastructure and jeopardized the safety of innocent citizens," added Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union, in comments to CJ. "We will absolutely be looking at ways to harden our critical infrastructure. And we will do so in a way that seeks to be proactive rather than reactive, by continuing to modernize the grid and safeguarding it against present and future threats."

    "It was clear before with the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack, but it has been made more evident, given recent events in Moore County, that our energy infrastructure is vulnerable to attacks," said André Béliveau, strategic projects and government affairs manager for the John Locke Foundation. "While lawmakers are likely to work on several energy issues in the coming session, bringing grid security into the mix would be prudential."
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

US Senator-Elect Ted Budd Announces Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff Carolina Journal, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Foxx makes top 10 list of most talkative members of Congress


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Locals and Groundhog Day enthusiasts alike were caught off-guard today, as the eponymous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his burrow and declared to the crowd gathered at Gobbler's Knob that there was a cache of documents marked "Classified" in his underground home.
A Catholic pro-life activist facing 11 years in prison for allegedly violating a federal law prohibiting people from blocking others from entering an abortion clinic was acquitted on Monday following a week-long trial.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was slammed after video showed her dancing in the street in Chicago’s Lunar New Year parade Sunday.
Several users of the remarkable software ChatGPT are reporting an apparent glitch that occurs whenever someone asks the AI to say something nice about Donald Trump.
A Senate Democrat is joining Republican colleagues in calling for an investigation into the suspected Chinese spy balloon currently hovering over the United States.
County boards of elections in North Carolina regularly remove voter registrations of people whom they confirm have died or moved out of the county


Federal prosecutors requested that former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried become subject to more restrictions during his pretrial release after he allegedly tried to tamper with a witness through the encrypted messaging platform Signal.
The N.C. Court of Appeals will decide in Zander v. Orange County whether the county must refund millions of dollars in school impact fees collected since 2009.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly told China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a call on Friday that “the presence” of a suspected Chinese spy balloon in “U.S. airspace is a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law.”
Local progressive and Anitfa member Declan Johnson has started to question his commitment to the communist revolution over concerns about a potential lack of gluten-free bread lines.


Young workers in Western nations are leaving their jobs at increasing levels over a desire to work for companies they believe are committed to fighting climate change.


Back to Top