Sabotage alert issued due to attacks against electrical infrastructure

The FBI launched an investigation after North Carolina was affected by an alleged attack causing a power outage.

North Carolina
succeeded in restoring its power grid after an alleged attack resulted in a power outage that affected thousands of people for several days and left behind millions of dollars in damage.

The first alarm bells went off in the state shortly after 7 p.m. last Saturday, Dec. 3, and since then the authorities have started to investigate what they believe to be a "terrorist attack" against the state’s power grid.

Suspicions of sabotage began after utility crews found some evidence of vandalism including broken doors and evidence of gunfire at two Moore County substations. So far the culprits are unknown, but the FBI has already begun an investigation.

"The person or persons who did this knew exactly what they were doing," Ronnie Fields, the county's police chief, told the media.

Federal agencies found it necessary to become involved in the case but so far have not reported any developments including suspects or motives for the alleged attacks.

More threats in the rest of the country

Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security reported that extremists had been developing plans to attack the nation's electrical infrastructure, and warned that "adhering to a range of ideologies, they will likely continue to plot and encourage physical attacks on electrical infrastructure."

It was later revealed that three men were plotting and preparing an attack allegedly motivated by their white supremacist ideology.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security released reports revealing other intentional attacks on substations in Oregon and Washington.

We are aware of recent threats on power systems across the country and take these very seriously.

We are monitoring our infrastructure and can confirm we have had two incidents occur in late November at two different substations.

We can’t comment on the incidents because they are both an on-going investigation involving the FBI.

Damage from the blackout

The power failure left some 40,000 users in precarious conditions because the blackout occurred during a spell of temperatures below freezing.

The damage also resulted in automobile accidents due to the lack of electricity, and there was a significant drop in the sales for businesses that were forced to close due to the outages.

Although authorities have not estimated the total cost of the damage caused by the power outage, Fields revealed that the repair of the substation alone would amount to millions of dollars.

Governor Roy Cooper also indicated via Twitter, "An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, intentional crime and I expect state and federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible to justice.”