Security and Resilience (Cyber and Physical)

Duke Energy Responds to Outages Caused by Substation Vandalism

Duke Energy over the weekend said that it was responding to power outages caused by vandalism against utility equipment in North Carolina.

Duke Energy on Dec. 4 said that crews were responding to widespread outages in Moore County, N.C. The company experienced multiple equipment failures affecting substations leaving about 45,000 customers without power.

Media reports on the vandalism reported that two electric substations were damaged by gunfire.

The utility crews are working 24-hour shifts to make repairs and restore service to all impacted customers. Several large and vital pieces of equipment were damaged in the event, the utility said. “Repairing the equipment is a multi-step process that will take several days to complete. Once repairs are made, the company must test the equipment before beginning the final restoration process.”

Due to the nature of the damage, the company is working with local, state and federal agencies on their ongoing investigation into this incident.

On Sunday evening, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm tweeted that she has been in contact with Duke Energy about the vandalism and the DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) is working with federal partners.

“Law enforcement is investigating this serious incident and Duke is working around the clock to restore service,” she said.

Rich Glick, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also sent a tweet over the weekend saying that FERC is monitoring the events in North Carolina. “The security & reliability of our grid remains the top priority” as Duke Energy works to restore services, he said.