Residents, business owners affected by OBX power outage attempt to recoup losses

BUXTON, N.C. (WAVY) – A new claims process set up by PCL Construction, the company that admittedly caused a massive power outage in the Outer Banks, is giving some residents and business owners hope they will soon recoup losses incurred by the eight-day blackout.

On Wednesday, Dare County officials hosted a community meeting in Buxton to give those affected the ability to ask questions and address concerns.

Governor Roy Cooper previously said he believes PCL should be held responsible for financial losses.

Vacation blackout: Power outage hits North Carolina islands

While visitors have since returned to Hatteras, those who make a living on the island still have questions.

“What are we going to do to ensure it’s not going to happen again?” asked Paul Volland, a charter boat captain who estimates his losses at $8,000.

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative says they do not expect a similar situation in the short-term, in part because the fixed transmission line is above ground.

The power outage — which lasted from July 27 to Aug. 3 — forced 40,000 visitors off Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

On Wednesday, Dare County Manager Robert Outten discussed the claim’s process organized by PCL for resident, business owners and vacationers.

Some business owners tell they filled out claims forms two weeks ago and have yet to get a response.

Outten says it’s still unclear if everyone will get a claim check.

“We are hopeful [PCL] will do the right thing, they’ll be fair and the people who document their claims will get paid,” said Outten.

Since the outage, several class-action lawsuits have been filed against PCL. One of the suits claims the company “negligently and recklessly drove a steel casing through underground transmission cables.”

Outter encouraged residents to fill out PCL’s claim form regardless of whether they also decide to join a class-action suit or file a lawsuit of their own.

Dare County is asking those affected to fill out an online survey as they work to tally total economic losses.

Outten says the information will be helpful in disbursing payments should grant or other money become available.