MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — Lawmakers from both North Carolina and South Carolina are pushing for change they say will better protect electric facilities. A call to action comes after a series of attacks on the power grids in the Carolinas.
Federal data analyzed by WCNC Charlotte shows not only are targeted attacks against the electric grid more common than people might think, efforts to physically attack, sabotage and vandalize have hit a 10-year high in the United States in 2022.
In December 2022, two substations in Moore County, North Carolina were attacked by gunfire. Now, security around grid infrastructure is top of mind more than ever.
“This kind of attack raises a new level of threat,” Governor Roy Cooper said during a press conference during the outage.
The incident left more than 45,000 Duke Energy customers in the dark and without heat - even as temperatures plunged.
Earlier this month, a power substation was hit by gunfire in Thomasville, North Carolina.
In 2023, lawmakers are starting to focus their attention on the energy grid.
“I don’t want to see anybody else in the state go through what Moore County did," Rep. Ben Moss said. “It’s not going away. We're seeing this more and more in the state of North Carolina. It’s happening more and more in the nation, we have to start somewhere.”
Republican representative, Ben Moss, who represents portions of Moore and Richmond counties in the North Carolina General Assembly, is pushing lawmakers to prioritize legislation that would help secure the state's energy infrastructure.
He wants power grid protections including 24-hour surveillance.
“I think we live in a time where we can have cameras, sound detectors, things of that nature to provide an extra layer of protection," Moss said.
And in South Carolina, lawmakers are trying to increase penalties for those who intentionally destroy electrical infrastructure or other utility property.
Recently, Duke Energy has asked the utility commission to approve a rate hike of nearly 18% over 3 years. Duke Energy says the extra revenue would go, in part, to improving grid reliability and security.
“I don’t want to see the consumer absorb those costs, but we know how expensive it is to not have that layer of protection,” Moss said.
As for the incident in Moore County, the FBI is still investigating and no arrests have been made.