Greenville Utilities believes Thursday's widespread power outage was caused by someone shooting at utility poles.
The outage to about 16,000 customers was caused by damage to two insulators on a transmission line going to a substation on MacGregor Downs Road.
The damaged insulators, which are about 3-1/2 feet long, caused a 115,000 volt line to fall onto another line, shorting out the system.
Roger Jones, GUC's Director of Electric Systems, says there was also damage to the porcelain on another insulator on an adjacent power pole. Jones says it happened in a wooded area in the Frog Level community, only accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle.
The utility has turned evidence over to the Pitt County Sheriff's Office who is now investigating the vandalism.
Customers affected were primarily in the Southwest portion of Pitt County and lost power at approximately 4:36 p.m. Thursday. GUC Spokeswoman Sue Hatch says the majority of customers had power restored by 5:05 p.m., and the rest had power restored around 6:00 p.m.
Greenville Utilities says the cause of an outage to thousands of customers involved damage to insulators on a transmission line.
GUC Spokeswoman Sue Hatch says the problem was
isolated and power was restored to the majority of customers in about 22 minutes by switching to other lines.
Hatch says about 16,000 customers were affected in the following areas: Red Oak, County Home Road, NC 33 east, NC 43 North, NC 33 west, Arlington Blvd., Charles St., Dickinson Ave., Bell Arthur, Ballards Crossroad, and Corey Road.
Hatch says all customers were expected to have power back around 6:00pm.
Thousands of Greenville Utilities customers were powerless for about a half hour this afternoon.
GUC spokeswoman Sue Hatch says a main substation at MacGregor Downs went down, affecting about 16,000 customers. The outage happened around 4:35 p.m. and the majority of customers had power restored by 5:05 p.m.
Hatch says they don't know yet what caused the outage.