Moore County Power Outages Map, Duke Energy

The attack on electrical substations in Moore County that have left more than 40,000 people without power is having an effect on Sanford today — restaurants and grocery stores in Tramway and throughout the city are slammed, generators have sold out at Lowe’s Home Improvement, and local hotels are booked.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office reported that just after 7 p.m. Saturday, several communities in Moore County lost power. As utility companies began responding to different substations, they discovered “evidence that indicated vandalism” at multiple sites. According to the Southern Pines Pilot, which has been updating its story continuously since last night, the FBI has become involved in the investigation

While the official stance of the sheriff’s office and the office of U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson is that the motive of the vandalism is “unknown,” many on social media are connecting it to a drag show scheduled for Saturday night in downtown Southern Pines. Organizers of the event at Sunrise Theater said far-right activists have been trying to shut down their event “for weeks.”

Photo by Anthony Crider,

Cameron resident Emily Rainey, pictured above taking a selfie with a group of protesters and “Proud Boys” outside of a similar drag show event in downtown Sanford in October, was questioned by deputies (according to a post on Facebook) for her alleged involvement or knowledge of the outages. Prior to the outages, she posted a photo of Sunrise Theater on her Facebook page with the caption, “God will not be mocked.” Following the outages, she wrote in a message that has since been deleted, “The power is out in Moore County, and I know why.”

“Sorry they wasted their time,” she later wrote. “I told [deputies] that God works in mysterious ways and is responsible for the outage. I used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show and the blasphemies screamed by its supporters. God is chastising Moore County. I thanked them for coming and wished them a good night. Thankful for the LEOs service, as always.”

As for the outages, the effects locally will be felt for at least the next 24 to 48 hours, according to a Facebook post from the Town of Southern Pines. The town has opened a community center for the public to stay warm and charge electric devices. Otherwise, residents have been asked to stay off the roads as traffic lights are not working (multiple vehicle accidents have been reported).

Several church services in Moore County were also canceled Sunday morning.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. today to provide updates on the power outage and the criminal investigation.