RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill filed in the General Assembly would create harsher penalties for people who attack critical infrastructure such as power stations. It comes in response to attacks on substations in Moore County.
The shootings at two Moore County substations last December left tens of thousands of people without power for days, cost businesses thousands of dollars and closed schools.
State senators Tom McInnis (R-Moore), Danny Britt (R-Robeson) and Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) sponsored a bill addressing attacks on critical infrastructure.
The bill would make attacking an energy facility or communications facility involved in the transmission of broadband, telephone or cable a Class C felony that could result in significant fines and prison time.
“Class C felony carries up to 123 months in prison,” said Britt. “We want these folks that are considering doing this to know that we are serious about this type of crime and the disruption that it causes to the business sector and families.”
Newton added this warning: “If you are contemplating destroying electrical infrastructure or other critical infrastructure in North Carolina, don’t do it. You are going to go to jail and you are going to pay an extraordinary amount of money as a result of your activities.”
So far no one has been arrested for the attacks in Moore County. If this bill does become law, it would not apply to that case, but to potential future attacks.
Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Duke Energy released the following statement:
“Protecting our infrastructure is a top priority, so we can deliver the essential service our customers and communities rely on. Our partnership with the government is a critical element of that commitment. We look forward to participating in the conversation around how to deter attacks on the electric grid as we work to continually enhance protections for our infrastructure.”