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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:27 pm 
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From NPR's Website: Outer Banks Power Outage
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Power Outage In N.C.'s Outer Banks Could Take Weeks To Fix August 1, 201711:15 AM ET By Scott Neuman

North Carolina's Outer Banks has been without electricity for days – and that could last for weeks, according to estimates of how long it will take to repair transmission lines that were inadvertently severed by a bridge construction crew.

PCL Construction, which is building a new span to replace the old Bonner Bridge across the Oregon Inlet, has acknowledged that early Thursday its workers drove a steel casing through a major underground transmission cable belonging to the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative. The accident has left thousands of residents without power and forced vacationers to depart.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said "a lot of money" was being lost due to the outages that come at the peak of tourist season when people come from all over the country to relax on the region's sandy beaches.

"You've got waiters and waitresses who are losing tip money. You've got restaurants who aren't selling meals. You've got hotel owners who aren't selling rooms. You've got boat captains who don't have charters," Cooper said.

"I do know we're talking hundreds of millions of dollars for our tourism on these islands every year," the governor said at a news conference on Monday. "And so it is critically important that we get the power back on, to make sure these tourists and visitors can get back on the island as quickly as possible."

Jason deBruyn, a reporter for member station WUNC, spoke with All Things Considered, describing the beaches as a ghost town following a mandatory evacuation that has removed 50,000 visitors from the island. Normally, he says there would be "cars backed up for miles, blanket to blanket on the beach. ... people everywhere" at this time of year.

On Monday, The News & Observer reported that a lawsuit had been filed against PCL Construction on behalf of the affected individuals and businesses.

The construction firm originally said its crew had accidentally cut a single transmission line, but the utility said later that a test of its underground cables showed a total of three had been severed and that it could take up to two weeks to repair the damage or string new overhead lines.

The News & Observer writes:

"CHEC crews are working toward two solutions for transmission restoration. The first solution is to continue excavating the damaged cables and work to splice them back together; repairs have already begun on the first excavated cable. The second solution is to build a new overhead transmission line ..."
Electricity, supplied by generators, has been restored to some areas, but many others are still in the dark, the newspaper reports.

"As a firm representing clients in the Outer Banks area, we can tell you that this power outage could not have happened at a worse time," Dennis Rose, of Rose Harrison and Gilreath law firm, one of the firms assisting in the lawsuit, was quoted by the News & Observer as saying. "We are getting calls from local residents and business".


The economic damage sounds serious. Not to mention the general PITA of it all.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Make no mistake - a large number of small businesses won't be back next year - if they can even survive to the end of this season....

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:36 pm 
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I continue to wonder how the hell things like that happen.

This really sucks for those businesses and employees. :( I've got friends down there all week who probably just had their family vacation ruined.

This certainly reinforces my desire for a generator when I finally have a place of my own.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:37 pm 
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Wow!!! This was super interesting to me. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. Absolutely amazing place.

I imagine those business have some sort of insurance. Hurricanes have reshaped that island so many times (and the bridge leading to it). Real-estate comes and goes. I don't know if insurance would cover an "act of construction."

I wish them the best.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:50 pm 
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I have followed this as well. It's a vacation nirvana - stop for a second and try to think your pulse 20 beats per minutes slower. It happens there as soon as you leave the ferry. Carried a child, our first, in a Kelty backpack from a house to a famous lighthouse on one of those great beaches.

This is one of those examples when "I think I really screwed up big" cannot get you out of trouble. If you contracted to build that span...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:27 pm 
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I've spliced a few damaged/cut 7200v UG distribution lines in my time....but UG transmission line, that's a whole other animal....and it's underwater, that ought to be fun.



UPDATED: Outer Banks islands' power to be restored in less than week, officials say

http://www.richmond.com/ap/business/updated-outer-banks-islands-power-to-be-restored-in-less/article_833ec023-dd6d-53a9-bd8c-6b00d80fd4f9.html

RALEIGH, N.C. — Power should be fully restored on all of North Carolina’s Outer Banks in less than a week, officials said late Tuesday.

New power poles are now all in place, and crews have started the more delicate, careful work of connecting the new lines to the underground power cable that provides electricity to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said in a news release.

That work, along with extensive testing, should be finished sometime between Saturday and Monday, at which time full power can be restored, the utility said.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:48 pm 
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RickOShea wrote:
I've spiced a few damaged/cut 7200v UG distribution lines in my time....but UG transmission line, that's a whole other animal....and it's underwater, that ought to be fun.

UPDATED: Outer Banks islands' power to be restored in less than week, officials say

http://www.richmond.com/ap/business/updated-outer-banks-islands-power-to-be-restored-in-less/article_833ec023-dd6d-53a9-bd8c-6b00d80fd4f9.html

RALEIGH, N.C. — Power should be fully restored on all of North Carolina’s Outer Banks in less than a week, officials said late Tuesday.

New power poles are now all in place, and crews have started the more delicate, careful work of connecting the new lines to the underground power cable that provides electricity to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said in a news release.

That work, along with extensive testing, should be finished sometime between Saturday and Monday, at which time full power can be restored, the utility said.


Good. Grid down is a real PITA. I didn't hear about anyone being hurt. I hope no one is/was.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:16 am 
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Wow. I would be surprised if that construction company has enough insurance to cover the cost of damages.

Couple that with the fact the businesses live and die over a good or bad tourist season and this is a huge disaster for that area's local workers and residents.

Hopefully they can salvage August and the Labor Day Weekend. I would assume there have been a lot of cancellations and people made other Labor Day plans.

Any way you look at it a lot of economic losses for folks.

I wonder what a sheet pile severing a 7 000 volt UG cable looks like. I cannot imagine that is in any way safe. However it does not sound like anyone was hurt on that process.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:41 am 
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It sounds like power has been restored to the affected areas. I tried to bring the article to quote it, but Twitter didn't feel like cooperating. It ended up happening a lot quicker than originally estimated.

Which as we all know is a good thing. :)

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