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Duke Energy substation attacks will result in higher prices for customers

Substation shooting AP.jpg
(John Nagy/The Pilot via AP)
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This photos shows the gate to the Duke Energy West End substation in Moore County, N.C. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. Tens of thousands were without power in the county after what authorities say was an act of criminal vandalism at multiple substations. The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines reported that infrastructure at the West End substation was damaged.

Duke Energy officials faced questions from state utility regulators in Raleigh Monday about the attack on two electrical substations in Moore County. Three Duke executives offered few new details and still aren't saying publicly what the attack might cost customers.

About 45,000 customers lost power when someone shot up two substations in Moore County, about 100 miles east of Charlotte. Duke Energy system operators also shut down a third substation to prevent further damage.

Utilities commissioner Floyd McKissick asked Duke chief information officer Bonnie Titone if it was true that the attacker or attackers seemed to know what to shoot at to inflict the most damage.

“Obviously because of the investigations going on, we don't want to speculate or talk publicly about that," she responded, "It's certainly something that they're using in that investigation, which I can tell you is ongoing and thorough.”

Other Duke executives gave similar answers when asked what equipment had to be replaced and what security measures Duke has taken since the incident.

Duke Energy customers will end up paying for the attacks through higher rates. The company still isn't putting a price tag on it. A similar incident in California 9 years ago cost $15 million.