Steam rises from Duke Energy's Marshall Power Plant in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, U.S. November 29, 2018.
Steam rises from Duke Energy's Marshall Power Plant in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, U.S. November 29, 2018. Reuters / CHRIS KEANE


  • The gunfire incident over the weekend left 40,000 customers in North Carolina's Moore County without electricity
  • An official of Duke Energy said power restoration could take until Thursday
  • The Moore County Sheriff's office called the power outage incident as 'targeted'

Moore County in North Carolina ordered a mandatory curfew after two power substations were damaged by gunfire over the weekend, leaving 40,000 customers without electricity.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields announced they will implement a mandatory curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., which will begin Sunday night, CNN reported.

Fields said municipality and county officials have already crafted a plan for the next few nights if they still have no power because of the "very serious situation" they were in.

"So we've come to an agreement to best protect our citizens and to protect the businesses of our county, we're going to implement a curfew tonight," Fields said.

North Carolina state senator Tom McInnis said the curfew was intended to avoid residents going out on the streets amidst freezing temperatures and dark roads, The New York Times reported.

Moore County Manager Wayne Vest said they opened a shelter powered by a generator at the Moore County Sports Complex with the help of the Red Cross.

On Sunday afternoon, the county went into a state of emergency, and classes have been suspended for Monday, possibly extending into the next few days.

Jeff Brooks, principal communications manager for Duke Energy, warned that power restoration could take until Thursday.

"We are going to be working around the clock, all hands-on deck, to get power back as quickly and safely as possible," Brooks said, adding that several pieces of equipment in the two affected substations will have to be replaced as the facilities suffered an "intentional impact."

The power company vowed to cooperate with the sheriff's office and county officials in the ongoing investigation regarding the outage.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced her agency is also working with concerned officials to investigate the matter, according to CNBC.

The magnitude of the incident pushed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Charlotte to join the investigation, saying they are "in regular contact with local law enforcement and private sector partners."

So far, authorities have called the outage incident "targeted," and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The county sheriff's office said they discovered evidence indicating "intentional vandalism" at the two substations.

A rumor also circulated in social media, connecting the incident to a drag show. But Fields quickly dismissed the rumor, saying they have "not been able to tie anything back to the drag show."

Lauren Mathers, the executive director of Sandhills PRIDE, the organization that produced the drag show, said they had not received any specific threats indicating any attacks related to the area's electricity.

Duke Energy
The Duke Energy coal-fired power plant is seen from the Dan River in Eden, North Carolina Feb. 19, 2014. Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas Co. in a $4.9 billion deal Monday. Reuters/Chris Keane