(NewsNation) — A Moore County official says those responsible for shooting at two power substations in North Carolina “knew right where to shoot.”
Authorities say the targeted attack on the substations is under investigation by the FBI. The outages have left thousands of people in the dark.
Nick Picerno, the board of commissioners chairman for Moore County, North Carolina, spoke to “On Balance with Leland Vittert” on Tuesday to speak about the outages.
After visiting the site of the damaged substations, Picerno believes the attack was planned since the area is so difficult to access.
“The actual location of this substation is very hard to get to and it’s enormous in size. So think of about the size of three quarters of a football field. And whoever was the person or persons that did this, knew right where to shoot to create a slow leak into the transformers, which drain the oil, so that they had time to get out and get away before anyone would notice as far as the power grid going down,” Picerno said.
Picerno says to his knowledge, investigators are not any closer to understanding who did this and how it happened. He said authorities are keeping their information close to the vest.
“This is something that somebody knew where to shoot, how to plan it, make it look like maybe by doing another substation in Carthage that that may have been a diversion, that this was the target because it brought down the main grid,” Picerno said.
In the wake of the North Carolina power outages, a recent federal law enforcement memo has issued a new warning about the power grid.
The memo reads in part: “Power companies in Oregon and Washington have reported physical attacks on substations using hand tools, arson, firearms and metal chains possibly in response to an online call for attacks on critical infrastructure. … In recent attacks, criminal actors bypassed security by cutting the fence links, lighting nearby fires, shooting equipment from a distance or throwing objects over the fence and onto equipment.”
For Picerno, he said his team is focusing on trying to get the power back on and keeping people informed on different issues.
Crews have been busy at work trying to restore power to thousands. Picerno said power should be back on for most in Moore County on Wednesday, instead of Thursday.