Getting power back in N.C. proves tough
Making repairs or even evaluating the damage to a transmission cable causing a power outage on the North Carolina islands of Ocracoke and Hatteras is proving more difficult than initially anticipated.
Though officials originally hoped to have a timeline for restoring power to the two popular vacation destinations Friday, as of Saturday afternoon crews had yet to excavate the damaged area, North Carolina Electric Cooperatives spokeswoman Kristie Aldridge said.
Without a closer look at the transmission cable, which was damaged during a construction project when a steel casing was driven through it, the closest officials can get to a timeline for power restoration is days or possibly weeks.
Crews dug all night hoping to reach the electric line but kept encountering issues as they reached the water table, Aldridge said.
Silt and water kept filling the hole, so evaluating the damage has been delayed, Hyde County spokesman Donnie Shumate said.
That was just one of the litany of issues that have struck Ocracoke and Hatteras since Thursday morning’s accident.
When nine generators arrived on Hatteras island Friday afternoon, four were not able to connect to the power grid, according to a Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative statement.
Ocracoke experienced similar issues when one of the two generators that arrived on the remote island — it’s only reachable by ferry or plane — did not have the equipment to connect to the power circuit, Hyde County said in a statement. The island has been running on power from two emergency generators.
Thousands of vacationers were ordered to evacuate earlier this week.
As of 8 a.m. Saturday, 3,704 people had been evacuated from Ocracoke by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division, Shumate said.
On Saturday morning, Hyde County officials began charging non-residents still on the island with class 2 misdemeanors, which hold a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, Shumate said.
In an effort to assist evacuees, Airbnb is offering free temporary housing until Monday.
“We encourage those who are able to open their homes to those travelers in need of one night to a few days as the situation evolves,” Regional Public Policy Director for Airbnb Will Burns said in a statement.
About 9,000 homes were without power, Aldridge said.
The closest officials can get to a timeline for power restoration is days or possibly weeks.