Residents, officials look back at Moore Co. substation attacks after one year; still no suspects

MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — Just a year ago, an attack at two substations cut off the lights in Moore County.

Now, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have released a photo of a van they believe is connected to the attack, with a $100,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.

According to authorities, the outage was caused by someone firing a shot in just the right location at two of the county’s main stations.

The vice chair of the Moore County Commissioners, Frank Quis, refers to the blackout as an act of terrorism but is thankful that the FBI agents on the case seem to be one step closer to solving the mystery.

“We thought it was localized; ‘oh, it’s just a downed power line just a few blocks away’, but it was anything but,” Quis said, “glad to hear that; it tells me they have stayed on the case; that’s a good lead.”

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson with Duke Energy, says the company as a whole has learned a lot of lessons since the attack. But the vulnerability of the substations has been around for years, so the question remains: Why wasn’t more done to help prevent the attack?

“No matter what we do, we can do everything right, and there could still be a risk for some type of disruption,” Brooks said, “so that’s where resiliency comes in, making sure that we have a system that can identify problems and adapt quickly to isolate those problems and restore power faster.”

According to Brooks, Duke Energy is spending $500 million on security upgrades for its thousands of substations across the system. For example, the Moore County substations now have cameras and other features they didn’t have before.

“Everything from physical barriers to improved monitoring to self-healing technologies and remote restoration equipment,” Brooks said.

While the blackout is an unpleasant memory for most residents, not everyone was able to move on.

“Two deaths were attributed to the incident; regrettably, no suspects have been found to date,” Quis said.


(WATCH BELOW: Video shows copper wire being stolen from 2 substations in Morganton; warrant issued)

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