RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy said Wednesday it has completed repairs on substation equipment damaged in shootings over the weekend that cut power to thousands of central North Carolina homes and it expects power to be fully restored by midnight.
In a statement on its website, the energy company said all of the equipment damaged in an attack on two North Carolina substations Saturday has been fixed or replaced. The company said Moore County customers will gradually get power back throughout the day as it finishes testing and completes restoration safely.
“To avoid overwhelming the electrical system we will bring power back on gradually, with the goal of having the majority of customers restored before midnight tonight,” the statement said.
As of 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, just over 1,000 Duke Energy customers in the county were still without power, according to the company’s website. That’s down from a peak of more than 45,000 customers without power over the weekend.
Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them.
Police have not released a motive or said what kind of gun was used. But Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told reporters Monday that whoever was responsible “knew exactly what they were doing to … cause the outage that they did.”
The FBI posted a notice Wednesday seeking information related to the investigation.
Schools are closed through Thursday. The Moore County School District will announce by Wednesday at 4 p.m. whether schools will be closed to students Friday. Once power is restored, the district requires 24 hours to prepare the facilities before it can welcome back students.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, a 402-bed acute care facility in Pinehurst, regained power shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday and was gradually transitioning from emergency generators to normal power, the hospital website said.
The county’s transportation services are operating only for clients who have scheduled dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, according to the Moore County website.
The N.C. Zoo is offering free admission to Moore County residents from Thursday until Sunday, the zoo said Wednesday. Guests must show a valid state ID with proof of residency in Moore County. Limit four free admissions per valid ID.