TACOMA, WASHINGTON (AP) – Vandalism at three power substations in western Washington early on Sunday initially cut power to about 14,000 utility customers, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said.
The attacks come as federal officials are warning that the United States (US) power grid needs better security to prevent domestic terrorism and after a large outage in North Carolina earlier this month that took days to repair.
Tacoma Public Utilities reported vandalism at about 5.30am on Sunday at one substation, followed by vandalism at a second substation, the sheriff’s office said.
The 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 at about 6.30pm on Sunday. Meanwhile, just before noon, Puget Sound Energy reported vandalism that had happened at about 2.30am on Sunday caused a power outage at one of its substations.
The nearly 7,700 customers who lost power had it restored by 5am, Puget Sound spokesperson Andrew Padula said.
The company is investigating, along with authorities, and declined to comment further, Padula said.