Saturday night, more than 40,000 homes and businesses in a central North Carolina county lost electricity in what officials say was a planned strike.
The blackout happened on the same night that a contentious drag show was planned to take place in one of the county’s municipalities.
The Moore County Sheriff’s Office reports that the outages began just after 7 p.m. Eastern Time. It was unclear when the electricity will be restored.
Multiple substations had indications of vandalism, according to officials, and Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields stated that the event is being investigated as a “criminal occurrence.”
Several substations across Moore County were reportedly shot up. https://t.co/x0DSi6LbTk
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 4, 2022
“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” Fields said, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh.
There is a major power outage in Moore County the power company is aware and is working on the issue. DO NOT call 911 to report an outage. ONLY call 911 to report a EMERGENCY
— Moore Public Safety (@moorecountyps) December 4, 2022
WRAL reported that over 38,000 Duke Energy customers were without power throughout the county. WRAL reported that 3,000 Randolph Electric Membership Corp. members were without power in the southern portion of the county.
Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks told WRAL that employees observed “several equipment failures” at numerous substations in the county.
“We are also investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” Brooks told the station, according to the station’s report.
Brooks stated that the firm is attempting to restore electricity and is cooperating with investigators of the outage.
The Charlotte Observer reports that some social media users reported hearing gunshots in the vicinity during the outage. When questioned if there was a connection, Brooks responded that he could not confirm anything at this time.
The interruption coincided with planned demonstrations against a drag concert in downtown Southern Pines, a town with a population of around 15,000 in Moore County.
According to The Charlotte Observer, the “Downtown Divas” concert at the Sunrise Theater began at 7 p.m. The Observer stated that the power outage lasted until around 9:00 p.m.
“I asked that everyone turn on their phone flashlights to illuminate the room,” headline act Naomi Dix said, according to the Observer. “I then led the crowd in singing Beyoncé’s ‘Halo.’”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
One of the organizers of protests against the drag show, Emily Grace Rainey, published a post to her Facebook page after the outage began stating, “The power is out in Moore County and I know why.”
She then posted a second statement with a picture of the exterior of the darkened theater stating, “God will not be mocked.” CONTINUE READING…