BUXTON, NC (WVEC) -- Thousands of people are without electricity on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands.
The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) says the outage is a result of PCL Construction, the company who is building the new Bonner Bridge, drove a steel casing into an underground transmission cable during construction.
PCL made this statement:
PCL is actively working with NCDOT and Cape Hatteras Electric to determine the exact cause of the power outage south of the Bonner Bridge. At this time, our primary concern is to ensure that we are doing everything we can to assist in restoring power as quickly as possible.
The outage prompted Governor Roy Cooper to declare a State of Emergency for the islands in Dare and Hyde Co.
“This declaration will allow us to move much needed resources through the state as quickly as possible to help restore the power to Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands,” Governor Cooper said.
On Friday morning Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative was tweeting updates about generators and reminders for residents to conserve their energy.
3 additional portable generators have arrived in the Waves substation and 1 additional in the Avon sub. More generators are on the way. #OBX— Cape Hatteras EC (@CHEMC09) July 28, 2017
Crews worked through the night to bring portal generators online in Avon and the tri-village. We are still only able to carry minimal load.— Cape Hatteras EC (@CHEMC09) July 28, 2017
CONSERVATION NOTICE: It is important for everyone to TURN OFF their AC & conserve usage or the generators will continue to trip off. #OBX— Cape Hatteras EC (@CHEMC09) July 28, 2017
Ten thousand tourists have been ordered to evacuate a North Carolina island following a power outage.
The evacuation order issued for visitors to Ocracoke Island in Hyde County went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday. Officials say no one will be allowed onto the island unless they can prove residency.
Hyde County public information officer Donnie Shumate says there are some 10,000 visitors on the island. He said the main concern was for their safety, adding that officials want to get visitors off the island by noon on Friday.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, all tolls are waived for ferries on trips between Ocracoke and Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.
CHEC says they're using diesel generators to proved temporary power to Buxton, Frisco, and pat of Hatteras Village, but are asking residents to conserve their power usage, and not run their AC units.
Tideland's initial attempt to operate the Ocracoke generator on Thursday was unsuccessful after a total of 10 minutes and the damage to the equipment make it inoperable.
Three mobile generators will be transported to the island. The first arrived at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday. The other two, much larger generators are expected to be running by Friday night.
Even with the generators resident in the area should expect rolling blackouts to come.
To reduce fire risk during a power outage, use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns instead of candles. Remember portable generators should only be used outdoors because they can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly.
The Dare County Water Department also issued a water conservation alert to customers on Hatteras Island, because water production capacity has been diminished due to the outage. Officials say the water quality is unaffected, and is safe to drink.
No roads or bridges have been impacted by the outages in Dare County.
CHEC is examining the extent of the damage, and that if the materials are on-hand, repairs to the transmission cable could take several days to complete. If the materials needed are not locally available, the repairs could instead take weeks.
An outage map can be found HERE.