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Attacks prompt bill aimed at protecting NC's electric substations

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After three shooting attacks damaged three North Carolina utility facilities in the past two months, a bill filed Wednesday in the N.C. House aims at protecting the state’s electric substations from “vandalism and other security threats.”

The proposed legislation by Republican Ben Moss of Richmond County would require utilities to operate security systems at substations 24 hours per day, but offers no specifics about the makeup of those systems.

On Dec. 3, two Duke Energy stations in Moore County were damaged, leading to power outages for about 45,000 customers during a cold snap that sent temperatures below zero.

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In a similar incident Jan. 17, EnergyUnited crews responding to an alarm found that a transformer in Thomasville had been damaged by gunfire.

There were no outages tied to that incident, EnergyUnited said.

The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office said investigators found more than two-dozen projectile holes in the transformer.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the State Bureau of Investigation are investigating the transformer attacks. No arrests have been made or suspects identified.

John Deem covers climate change and the environment in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina. His work is funded by a grant from the 1Earth Fund and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

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