For the third time in just over a month, a power substation in North Carolina was the target of a shooting.
Two electrical substations in Moore County were badly damaged in shooting attacks in early December, which resulted in around 50,000 people losing power, some for as long as a week.
On Jan. 18, a transformer in Randolph County was destroyed by gunfire, according to WGHP.
Thankfully, none of the 1,500 customers served by the substation lost power because repair crews were able to switch the electrical load to another nearby substation.
Just because there wasn’t a big impact doesn’t mean the attack is being taken lightly. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is working with law enforcement officials in both Randolph and Moore counties to see if the attacks are connected.
WGHP reported that this latest attack has resulted in more lawmakers coming forward to call for actions to be taken to protect the state’s power substations.
“We are wanting the stiffest penalties of any state in the country in North Carolina,” said Rep. Neal Jackson, who represents Randolph and Moore Counties in the North Carolina General Assembly. Jackson said he and his colleagues are discussing legislation that would create stiffer punishments for people who attack substations.
“The fact that someone would harm our citizens and do evil, that they would hurt us and take away one of our necessities at such a crucial time, it was just alarming,” he said.
Jackson went on to tell WGHP that this is a security issue and not a political one.
“This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue,” he said. “This is for the good of North Carolina…so we are going to come together and make a bipartisan measure.”
Republican Rep. Ben Moss, who represents Moore County, told The Associated Press that he wants to make sure these attacks don’t happen again.
“I don’t want to see anybody else go through what Moore (County) did,” he said. “When the power goes out, you don’t have heat, don’t have food, can’t get fuel or some medications, the people are unsafe.”
The AP obtained draft legislation written by Moss that would require utilities to provide 24-hour security at substations.
Moss said he sees the bill as “a conversation opener” between lawmakers, the utilities themselves, and security experts the North Carolina General Assembly has asked to help them identify affordable defenses that wouldn’t lead to higher prices for consumers.
There are still no leads and no arrests have been made in the domestic terror attack in Moore County. The Randolph County investigation is still in its early stages, officials said.