This story originally published online at NC Policy Watch.
North Carolina Rep. Ben Moss Jr. has introduced legislation directly responding to a possible terrorist attack on two Duke Energy substations in Moore County last December, as well as a recent shooting incident at a substation in Thomasville, in Randolph County.
Someone used high-powered rifles to shoot up the Moore County substations on the evening of Saturday, December 3, cutting off electricity to more than 40,000 people for several days. The SBI and FBI are investigating, but have not named a suspect.
Moss is a Republican representing Moore and Richmond counties.
Although its language is still skeletal, the Energy Security Act would provide 24-hour security systems at power substations “against vandalism” and other security threats.
Rep. Terry Brown Jr., a Mecklenburg Democrat, sits on the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee. He told Policy Watch the bill will eventually lay out whether the security would take the form of cameras, guards on-site, or a mix.
There are hundreds of Duke Energy substations throughout North Carolina. It’s still unclear who would pay for the security—and the cost. Brown said he spoke with Duke representatives about the financial aspects of the bill. “It’s still in the early stages,” Brown said, “but I think we should work with Duke, that it needs to be some type of collaboration between Duke and the states.”
There have been at least 15 similar attacks on energy infrastructure elsewhere, leading federal investigators to believe the at least some of incidents are linked and the work of extremists, including neo-Nazi groups who want to destabilize the government and society in general.
Two men have been charged in connection with a December 25 incident in Washington State. Other substations have been damaged in Oregon, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. Comment on this story at firstname.lastname@example.org.