1 to 2 weeks for complete Outer Banks power cable repairs, officials say

This image shows damaged transmission cables at the Bonner Bridge. Officials said three cables were damaged, causing a massive outage and the evacuation of thousands of tourists. (Photo courtesy of the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative.)

BUXTON, N.C. (AP/WAVY) — Construction crews building a new bridge damaged all three transmission cables that provide electricity to two North Carolina islands where tourists were ordered to leave because of a lack of power.

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative says in a news release that tests Saturday night revealed that all three cables are damaged. Officials earlier knew that one cable was damaged.

Gov. Cooper presses for faster power repairs on Ocracoke, Hatteras

The cooperative says that they are looking at two solutions to restore power. One 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 is to build a new overhead transmission line that would run from the south end of the Bonner Bridge to meet the cooperative’s existing overhead transmission line.

Depending on the which solution is the most practical, the timeline of the repair could vary from one to two weeks.

Authorities issued mandatory evacuations for visitors for Ocracoke and Hatteras islands after PCL Construction drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cables on Thursday. PCL is building new bridge over the Oregon Inlet, parallel to the current Bonner Bridge.

Mandatory Evacuation Orders for Hatteras Island

Hyde County Emergency Services says that refrigeration loads are caught up and Tideland EMC believes islanders can conservatively use air conditioning and reheat water between 4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.

They do urge that you should only use what you need and stagger use of multiple A/C units. The later in the evening you turn on A/C the better.

The North Carolina Ferry System says that they are switching to their “winter” schedule on Hatteras-Ocracoke until the evacuation order is lifted. You can get the full schedule with times here.

In response to the power outages, Airbnb has activated their Disaster Response Program that will offer free accommodations to this displaced by the outages. You can check availability here.