OBX OUTAGE: Ocracoke & Hatteras islands now open for business

OCRACOKE, N.C. (WITN) - After a week in the dark, the power is back on and two islands on the Outer Banks are again open for business.

Several hundred vehicles were parked on the north end of the Bonner Bridge waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted at noon.

Tens of thousands of visitors had been banned from Hatteras and Ocracoke islands after a state contractor accidentally broke an underground transmission line that provides power to the islands.

The mess happened at the height of the tourist season, and some people wasted no time in getting back into vacation-mode.

"As soon as we knew the power was going to be back on and we thought that we were going to be able to get back on the island today we decided to head down right away because at this point we have received no refunds so far for our last week and we are out for a weeks worth of our vacation," says Alyssa Dourte, who is vacationing from Pennsylvania.

Dare County officials believe Hatteras Island businesses easily lost $2 million overall for each day of the outage. They are working on a more precise figure.

Meanwhile, about 100 people attended a meeting Friday for business owners to begin tallying losses on Ocracoke Island.


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After a week in the dark, the power switch has finally been flipped back on to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands ahead of schedule.

That means after a week without tourists, visitors are now allowed back to the southern Outer Banks.

Several hundred vehicles were parked on the north end of the Bonner Bridge waiting for the restrictions to be lifted at noon.

Cape Hatteras Electric says crews had continued to make expedited progress on creating a new above ground transmission line this week after repairs to the underground transmission line continued to experience challenges.

Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Hester says officials believe island businesses there easily lost $2 million overall for each day of the outage. They are working on a more precise figure.

Meanwhile, about 100 people attended a meeting Friday for business owners to begin tallying losses on Ocracoke Island.

Hyde County spokesman Donnie Shumate said one restaurant owner calculated that the power outage was likely to cost the business around 11 percent of its yearly revenue.

Shumate said the county attorney will be leading efforts to recoup business losses from the construction company that caused the accident.

Last Thursday morning a contractor building the new Bonner Bridge accidentally cut an underground transmission line that provides power to the two islands.

Some 50,000 tourists were evacuated because of the power outage.


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Full power has been restored to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, according to Cape Hatteras Electric.

CHEC says temporary generator power to customers on Hatteras Island has ended and all customers have been returned to regular power.

Both Dare and Hyde counties now say travel restrictions to the two islands will be lifted at noon on Friday.

CHEC says all electricity conservation appeals for their customers have been lifted.

Last Thursday morning a contractor building the new Bonner Bridge accidentally cut an underground transmission line that provides power to the two islands.

Some 50,000 tourists were evacuated because of the power outage and new overhead power lines had to be erected to restore power.


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Dare County says Hatteras Island will reopen to visitors at noon tomorrow, while Hyde County is meeting at 5:00 p.m. to discuss its plans for Ocracoke Island.

In a news release, Dare County Emergency Management says the county has been assured by Cape Hatteras Electric that there will be adequate and reliable power to the entire island tomorrow.

Mandatory power restrictions for Hatteras have now been lifted so that CHEC can complete safe stabilization of the power grid.

A spokesman for Hyde County says they have not made a decision yet to lift travel restrictions to Ocracoke Island. Hyde County says it is still waiting for official word from it's power company, Tideland Electric.

Hyde County and Tideland are holding a 5 p.m. conference call.

Last Thursday morning a contractor building the new Bonner Bridge accidentally cut an underground transmission line that provides power to the two islands.

Some 50,000 tourists were evacuated because of the power outage.

Crews have been working on erecting new overhead lines that connected the broken transmission cable to the electric grid on the islands.


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Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative now says they believe they can have power back on to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands on Friday or Saturday.

Thursday night, crews were able to make more progress on the new overhead transmission line. All three cables were connected to the grid this morning.

CHEC says the next steps this afternoon will be to energize the line for several hours to test the cables. After that, the utility says it will begin to gradually introduce electrical load to the new line.

A construction company building the new Bonner Bridge accidentally damaged the line a week ago.

An estimated 50,000 tourists were evacuated from Ocracoke and Hatteras islands because of the outage while generators were brought in to supply power to permanent residents and businesses.


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Utilities now say power could be restored to two islands on the Outer Banks as early as Saturday.

Tideland Electric and Cape Hatteras Electric announced the revised time frame Wednesday morning. Hyde County officials are cautiously optimistic that visitors could return to Ocracoke Island as early as Saturday.

Crews have been working on two solutions to repairing the underground transmission line that was cut last Thursday morning.

They now say the underground solution doesn't appear viable as water seeping into the trenches continues to be a problem.

The other fix, building new overhead lines to connect to existing overhead service, is proceeding. Wednesday afternoon, Cape Hatteras Electric reported that crews were installing the second of three cables needed.

Both utilities says the restoration time frame includes the testing process that must be done before the line line is energized.

A construction company building the new Bonner Bridge accidentally damaged the line.

An estimated 50,000 tourists were evacuated from Ocracoke and Hatteras islands last week.


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Residents on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands continue to be without power after a PCL Construction crew accidentally severed an underground power cable last Thursday.

Representatives from the Hyde County Department of Social Services will stay on the island Wednesday to meet with residents affected at the Ocracoke Community Center from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Residents will be able to apply for social services programs and provide information about their current situation.

This comes after a number of citizens at the local disaster recovery center said there were still a number unmet needs for families and local businesses.

A food bank is also stepping in to help residents who have been without power for the last six days.

The Bread of Life Food Bank will be open at the Ocracoke Assembly of God Church on Lighthouse Road from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, or until supplies run out.

Cape Hatteras Electric Officials say they hope to have all power restored on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands sometime between Saturday and Monday.



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Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative says crews have made great progress Tuesday and now estimate power will be restored quicker than earlier estimates. Their new time frame is four to six days.

Underground transmission repairs have had significant challenges with water continuing to seep in. However, crews continue to use a hydro-vacuum truck along with a well and pump system.

As for the above ground repairs, all of the poles are in place and anchored. Crews are beginning to install the three-phase line Tuesday night.

Now a specialized team are preparing for the intricate process of connecting the new overhead cables in two places. They'll have to be connected to the existing underground lines just before where they were severed, and they'll also have to be connected to the existing overhead lines that run the length of Hatteras Island.


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Utilities that serve two crippled islands on the Outer Banks say they have narrowed the time frame to get power restored.

A contractor building the new Bonner Bridge cut into the underground transmission lines that serve Hatteras and Ocracoke islands on Thursday morning.

Cape Hatteras Electric and Tideland Electric now both say full power to the islands should be within six to ten days.

Crews are working on two fixes. One is to repair the existing underground cables, while a second is to build new overhead lines.

The utilities say water continues to be a problem as crews dig deeper to reach the final cable that's damaged. A well was built and a pump installed last night and Tuesday crews reached that third cable. Repairs could begin Wednesday morning..

On the overhead project, all of the poles have been set. The next step is to start installing cables for the 115 KV service.

Both islands are under mandatory evacuation orders for tourists and non-residents until power is restored.

Generators continue to provide full-time residents with electricity.