4th Washington State Electrical Substation Vandalized

4th Washington State Electrical Substation Vandalized

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A fourth electrical substation was vandalized late Christmas Day in Washington state, leaving homes in Kapowsin and Graham temporarily without power, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, more than 10,500 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power across the region, KOMO-TV reported.

The suspects entered a cordoned off area and vandalized equipment, causing a fire, officials said. The fire was extinguished and power was later restored, but no suspects are in custody, officials said.

The attacks come as federal officials are warning that the US power grid needs better security to prevent domestic terrorism and after a major outage in North Carolina earlier this month that took days to resolve was repaired.

The first substation was vandalized around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by a second substation, according to Tacoma Public Utilities. Outages affected about 7,300 customers in an area southeast of Tacoma. Just before noon, the utility had restored power to all but 2,700 customers whose power was estimated to be restored around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Meanwhile, just before noon, Puget Sound Energy reported vandalism that occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday caused a power outage at one of its substations. About 7,700 customers who lost power had it restored by 5 a.m., Puget Sound spokesman Andrew Padula said. The company is investigating, along with authorities, and declined to comment further, according to Padula.

In all four cases, the sheriff’s office says someone forced their way into the cordoned off area around the substations and damaged equipment to cause a power outage.

Power plants have been hit in Washington and Oregon in the past month.

Portland General Electric, the Bonneville Power Authority, the Cowlitz County Public Utilities District and Puget Sound Energy confirmed six separate attacks at electrical substations in Washington and Oregon in the previous weeks, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW-FM in Seattle.

Top photo: A Tacoma Power crew works on an electric substation damaged by vandals early Christmas morning, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 in Graham, Wa. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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