What to Know About the North Carolina Power Outages

A power outage in Central North Carolina over the weekend has upended daily life, prompting officials to open at least one shelter and impose a nightly curfew while the authorities investigate what left an entire county in the dark.

The outages in Moore County, about 90 miles east of Charlotte, have drawn the attention of state officials, including Gov. Roy Cooper, who said on Twitter that the attack was a “serious, intentional crime.”

Here’s what we know so far.

The power went out Saturday evening, just after 7 p.m. Two electric substations were damaged by gunfire in what State Senator Tom McInnis called a “terrible act” that appeared to be “intentional, willful and malicious.”

There were no immediate details about a possible motive or a suspect; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation were looking into the matter. It was also unclear if the vandalism was tied to a drag show in the area that had faced backlash.

“Moore County is very strong,” the county sheriff, Ronnie Fields, said. “And I can promise you to the perpetrators out there, we will find you.”

The damage is likely to be in the millions, he said.

The number of customers without power appeared to be falling, albeit slowly. As of early Monday, about 33,000 customers in the area were without power, according to Duke Energy, which services thousands of homes and businesses in the region. PowerOutage.Us, which aggregates data from utilities across the country, showed a slightly higher number, about 37,000 customers.

On Sunday, the number of customers without power was about 45,000.

It could take days. Officials said on Sunday that outages could last until Thursday, drawing concern that the combination of chilly evening temperatures and no electricity could spell disaster for some residents.

Moore County residents have seen power failures before, particularly during snowstorms and extreme weather. The parts of the substations that were damaged need to be completely replaced, unlike when pieces can be repaired in place after weather events disrupt power.

A countywide state of emergency was declared Sunday afternoon alongside a nightly curfew that was expected to last as long as the declaration was in effect. Citizens were also encouraged to conserve fuel during this time.

A shelter was opened at the Moore County Sports Complex, which can accommodate about 250 residents, officials said. It will remain open until it is no longer needed. Schools were also closed on Monday and a decision on whether they will reopen on Tuesday will be announced Monday evening.

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