Tuesday in Moore County: Where things stand on power outages, investigations

Kaitlin McKeown/kmckeown@newsobserver.com

Tens of thousands of Moore County residents are entering their third full day without power after two Duke Energy electrical substations in the county were intentionally damaged Saturday evening.

The outages were first reported Saturday around 7 p.m. and spread through central and southern Moore County, a roughly 706-square-mile county in North Carolina’s Sandhills region that’s home to about 99,000 people.

Businesses, critical and health care resources, schools and more throughout the county are impacted by the outages.

Local, state and federal officials continue to investigate the outages.

As the situation continues to unfold, here’s what you need to know on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

How many people are still without power in Moore County?

Duke Energy’s outage map shows that more than 34,000 customers are still without power in Moore County as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.

  • Almost 15,000 customers in the Aberdeen area are affected.

  • More than 7,000 customers in the Pinehurst area are affected.

  • More than 6,800 customers in the Southern Pines area are affected.

  • More than 6,000 customers in the Whispering Pines and Lakeview areas are affected.

  • More than 100 customers in the Carthage area are affected.

In total, about 73% of the more than 47,000 Duke Energy customers served in the county remain without power Tuesday.

When will power be restored in Moore County?

Duke Energy’s outage information lists the estimated time of power restoration in the county as Thursday, Dec. 8, at 11:45 a.m.

“Crews are making good progress on the substation repairs in Moore County,” a message on Duke Energy’s outage site reads. “Our technicians continue to work in 24-hour shifts and remain on schedule to bring service back on by early Thursday.”

Are there updates on the investigation?

Officials say the investigation into the attack is ongoing, with local, state and federal authorities “working around the clock.”

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields called the suspects who damaged the substations “cowards” at a press conference Sunday afternoon, and said the perpetrators in the attack knew “exactly what they were doing.”

Officials have said that a firearm was used to damage the substations, but have not provided details about the type of firearm.

Fields said that considering state and federal involvement and the “millions of dollars” of damage done to Duke Energy property, charges will have “more teeth, more bite,” and will be “extensive.”

While some people, including on social media and in the community, have called the attack an act of domestic terrorism, Fields has not said whether he considers the incident as such.

Experts say it’s not possible to know if domestic terrorism occurred until the culprits — and their motivations — are known.

What is domestic terrorism? The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

At a press conference in the county Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper called the attack “a new level of threat,” echoing Fields’ insistence that the perpetrators knew what they were doing and acted deliberately.

“Regardless of motive,” he said, “violence and sabotage will not be tolerated.”

Cooper said investigators are “leaving no stone unturned” as they analyze the situation and whether it was terrorism.

How can I report a tip about what happened in Moore County?

Officials are asking anyone with information about the attack on the substations to call the sheriff’s tip line at 910-947-4444.

What resources are available to Moore County residents?

Moore County officials say those impacted by the power outage can pick up free meals Tuesday between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Hillcrest Sports Complex, located at 155 Hillcrest Park Lane in Carthage. This will be an outside service managed by the Public Safety Commercial Kitchen Trailer.

Southern Pines Fire Station 82, located at 7850 NC Hwy 22 in Carthage. This will be an inside service managed in the commercial grade kitchen.

The old Aberdeen Elementary School, located at 503 N Sandhills Blvd. in Aberdeen. This will be a drive-thru service.

Other food is available in the community at these events and locations Tuesday:

Grace Church Southern Pines will have lunch, hot drinks and charging stations available on Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. Located at 1519 Luther Way in Southern Pines.

New Covenant Fellowship will provide soup and sandwiches on Tuesday beginning at noon. The church is located at 1305 Hulsey Road in Carthage.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina will host a pop-up, no-cost food distribution at the old Aberdeen Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday. Please bring your own boxes or bags, if possible. The school is located at 503 N Sandhills Blvd in Aberdeen.

Shelter and warm buildings are available at these locations on Tuesday:

Moore County Sports Complex: Located at 155 Hillcrest Park Ln. in Carthage. The American Red Cross is on-site to assist those needing their services. If you need a ride to get to the shelter, call 910-847-6317.

The Southern Pines Public Library: Located at 170 W Connecticut Ave. in Southern Pines. Will be open on Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide a warm building for the community. Charging stations will be available, along with snacks, warm drinks and board games. Typical library services are unavailable.

The Lee County Main Library: Located at 107 Hawkins Ave. in Sanford. This library, in neighboring Lee County, will be open to Moore County residents for warming, electronic charging needs, using the internet and more. The library is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The Southern Pines Police Department: Located at 450 West Pennsylvania Ave. in Southern Pines. The Haney Community Room will remain open indefinitely, at all hours of the day, for community members to get out the cold and charge their devices. They ask for residents to let dispatch know they are using the room. The department can be reached at 910-692-2732.

Charging stations for electronics are available at these locations on Tuesday:

Pinehurst Fire Station 91 will be open to the public to charge electronic devices every day this week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at 405 Magnolia Road in Pinehurst.

Roseland United Methodist Church will be open Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon for residents to charge electronics. Free internet and coffee will also be available. Located at 181 Roseridge Road in Aberdeen.

Residents who need to charge medical devices and equipment are welcome to do so at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s Clara McLean House, a hospitality house on the hospital’s campus.

This story will be updated throughout the day.