Thousands lose power after three substations targeted in Washington state, sheriff says

Dec 25 (Reuters) – Thousands of residents were without power near Tacoma, Washington, after three electrical substations were vandalized, local authorities said on Sunday, adding that no It was not yet clear if the Christmas Day incidents were related.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said thefts were reported at two substations owned by Tacoma Public Utilities and another owned by Puget Sound Energy. Deputies cited forced entry into the fenced area, with equipment vandalized but nothing taken from the sites, he said. More than 14,000 customers have been affected.

“At this time MPs are carrying out the initial investigation. We have no suspects in custody. It is unclear if there are motives or if this was a coordinated attack on the systems. electric,” the department said in a statement posted on its website. .

Earlier this month, a North Carolina utility reported outages of what local authorities said were orchestrated shootings that are currently being investigated by federal law enforcement.

The FBI also investigated shots fired near a power plant in South Carolina days later, and whether those two incidents might be related, NBC News and other local media reported.

Utilities nationwide have been strained by a severe cold weather system that has swept across the country this week, leaving more than 300,000 people without power due to the winter storm.

In eastern Piece County, about 2,700 people served by Tacoma Public Utilities remained impacted midday Sunday after the first 7,300 residents lost power in the area, about 45 miles (72 km) south of Seattle. , Tacoma Public Utilities said in a post on Twitter.

“We are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power,” he said, noting that his substations “came under attack” earlier on Sunday morning and the incidents were reported to police.

Representatives for Puget Sound Energy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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