More than 14,000 in Washington state lose power after energy

More than 14,000 people suffered power outages in Washington state on Christmas Day following burglaries and a series of vandalisms at different power stations.

The Pierce county sheriff said in two statements that no suspects have yet been identified for the incidents.

The Christmas Day outages add to an alarming and increasing list of similar incidents in the US. There were six attacks across power stations in Oregon and Washington earlier this month, following a similar attack on a power grid in North Carolina at the beginning of December.

In the attack in North Carolina, assailants shot gunfire into two stations, with some claiming that it was done in order to halt a local drag show.

While there are no suspects in the string of attacks, there are concerns that at least some of these assaults are carried out by extremists, motivated by online conspiracy theories and pursuing a far-right agenda.

The most recent incident in Washington unfolded on Christmas evening, there was a fire on the premises of Puget Sound Energy substation following a burglary. “The suspect(s) gained access to the fenced area and vandalized the equipment which caused the fire,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

Early on Christmas morning, around 2.30am, an energy utility company Puget Sound Energy experienced a power outage “where the fenced area was broken into and the equipment vandalized”, said another statement from the sheriff’s office.

At about 5.30am, a break-in and vandalism in a Tacoma Public Utilities facility about 10 miles away, led to a power outage.

Following that, just a couple of miles away, there was a “forced entry” at a substation where nothing was stolen.

Tacoma Public Utilities said in a statement on Sunday that the issue was a lot more severe than they had initially thought.

“Unfortunately, the impacts to our system from today’s deliberate damage are more severe in some places than initial testing indicated,” they said on Sunday evening in an update in a live feed on Facebook.

Pierce county Sgt Darren Moss has said that it’s likely the incidents are related.

“There’s a good possibility they are related, we are going to be investigating to see if this was coordinated by a specific group or people,” he told news station KING 5, “but at this time all we know is that we have burglaries where the power was purposefully knocked out.”

Of those affected, more than 7,000 customers were out of power before the sun was up on Christmas morning, KING 5 reported.