Shots reported near SC power facility, utility working with FBI

Duke Energy confirmed reports of gunfire at one of its South Carolina energy facilities in a statement Wednesday night.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 9:34 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 3:09 PM EST
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RIDGEWAY, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Duke Energy confirmed reports of gunfire at one of its South Carolina energy facilities in a statement Wednesday night.

The utility released a statement late Wednesday on the report of gunfire Wednesday near the Wateree Hydro Station in Ridgeway.:

We are aware of reports of gunfire near the Wateree Hydro Station in Ridgeway, S.C. No individuals were harmed. There are no outages reported. There is no known property damage at this time. We are working closely with the FBI on this issue.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has been in contact with Duke Energy and is continuing to evaluate the incident, SLED spokesperson Renée Wunderlich said.

“SLED has agents assigned and are coordinating with our local and federal law enforcement partners,” she said.

The report comes as Duke Energy confirmed it had completed repairs on substation equipment damaged in shootings over the weekend in Moore County, North Carolina. Almost all households in Moore County had regained power as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Duke Energy’s outage map. A peak of more than 45,000 customers lost power over the weekend.

Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them.

In a statement on its website, Duke Energy said all of the equipment damaged in the attack has been fixed or replaced. The company said customers gradually got power back throughout the day as it finished testing and restoration.

Police have not released a motive or said what kind of gun was used in the attack. But Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told reporters Monday that whoever was responsible “knew exactly what they were doing to ... cause the outage that they did.”

The FBI posted a notice Wednesday seeking information related to the investigation.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the state, county and Duke Energy were offering combined rewards of up to $75,000 total for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the attack.

“An attack on our critical infrastructure will not be tolerated,” Cooper said in a statement Wednesday.

The vandals damaged transformers and caused them to leak coolant oil, the cooperative said in a news release. It was not immediately clear how the damage was done or if there is a link to the Moore County outages. The Jones County sheriff did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.