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Colonial Pipeline restarts system, operations getting back to normal

The company says it'll take several days for supply to catch up, but normal service is set to return.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Colonial Pipeline says following a cyberattack that beleaguered much of the gas supply in part of the United States, fuel is set to flow once again through their pipes.

In an update posted online just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Colonial says they initiated the restart in the evening. The pipeline company says delivery of fuel will take several days to get back to normal, and that some markets served by the pipeline may still see some service interruptions during the start-up period.

"As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety. As part of this startup process, Colonial will conduct a comprehensive series of pipeline safety assessments in compliance with all Federal pipeline safety requirements," part of the statement read.

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Colonial also noted this was the first step in the restart process and thanked employees for working on resolving the cyberattack, along with kudos to the White House and other federal, state and local agencies for ongoing support.

A ransomware attack that was first reported on Saturday, May 8 forced the pipeline offline as Colonial worked with third-party cybersecurity partners to resolve the issue. The shutdown affected much of the eastern part of the United States with markets reliant on the pipelines for fuel delivery. Colonial delivers about 45% of the fuel used across the Eastern Seaboard.

The shutdown prompted panic-buying of gas stations as gas prices rose. Charlotte saw prices climb within 48 hours and citizens scrambled to find fuel for their cars.

Local officials urged citizens to avoid panic-buying as Colonial worked to restart operations. Outside of Raleigh, two people got into a fight over fuel at a gas station. At one point, more than 70% of Charlotte's gas stations were dry.