RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — As the massive power outage in Moore County continues this week, North Carolina officials announced a price gouging law is now in effect.
An attack on two electrical substations knocked the power out for 45,000 energy customers beginning after 7 p.m. Saturday. There were still 35,000 customers without power Tuesday afternoon.
Duke Energy said Tuesday that crews now plan to have power restored a day earlier than previously forecast — possibly by late Wednesday night.
Since the power went out, Moore County officials said there have been 655 calls to 911 related to the power outages.
Fire crews have responded to about 115 EMS calls, they said. Of the more than 600 calls to 911 about 100 include suspicious circumstances, possible burglars and traffic accidents, Moore County officials said.
The North Carolina Department of Justice and the state’s Attorney General announced Tuesday that the state’s price gouging law is now in effect.
If you see any signs of price gouging – you should report it and file a complaint with the state’s consumer protection division.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called for a thorough assessment of the state’s critical infrastructure Tuesday morning at a Council of State meeting – a collective body of elected officials comprising the executive branch. He said this will likely include discussions with federal regulators, lawmakers and utility companies about how to bolster security and prevent future attacks.
In the short-term, the state has sent generators to Moore County and is helping feed residents. Law enforcement in surrounding counties has been more vigilant about monitoring nearby substations since the attack, he said.
“This seemed to be too easy,” Cooper said after the meeting. “People knew what they were doing to disable the substation, and for that much damage to be caused – causing so much problem, economic loss, safety challenges to so many people for so long – I think we have to look at what we might need to do to harden that infrastructure.”
Mike Causey, the North Carolina insurance commissioner and state fire marshal, called the attack “a wakeup call to provide better security at our power substations.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.