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You can't do what we do without electricity

By Joe Centers • Aug 6, 2017 at 12:00 PM

What if it happened here?

A full repair of the damaged power cables that caused tourists to be evacuated from two islands on North Carolina's Outer Banks could take one to two weeks, the area's electricity provider announced Sunday evening.

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said construction crews building a new bridge over Oregon Inlet damaged all three transmission cables that provide electricity to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, where tourists were ordered to leave because of a lack of power, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Officials earlier knew that one cable was damaged.

In a series of news releases, the cooperative said that tests Saturday night revealed that all three cables are damaged. The cooprative said it was weighing two possible solutions: excavating the cables and splicing them back together or running a new overhead transmission line.

“CHEC will actively pursue both of these solutions until it is clear which of these will provide the fastest and safest option for a full repair,” the cooperative said in a release issued about 6:45 p.m. Sunday and reported by the Times-Dispatch. “Depending on which solution turns out to be the most practical, the timeline for a complete 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 Thursday. PCL is building a new bridge parallel to the current Bonner Bridge, which connects Bodie and Hatteras islands.

While repairs are under way, CHEC will supply temporary power via generators, the cooperative said. The temporary sources will be expanded, the cooperative said, to "accommodate a staged re-entry of visitors."

No information was available on when tourists would be allowed to return.

Again, what if it happened here?

This part of the state depends on its summer tourist trade. Losing power for one to two weeks — what would that do for Cedar Point, Kalahari and Sports Force Parks?

The window of opportunity for summer businesses is only so big. Just Sunday evening Cedar Point lost its power for about a half an hour. We were at Toft’s in Sandusky on Sunday evening and it lost its power off and on while we were there. We saw customers turn around when they heard the news. That is money you never will get back.

There was a 30-minute power outage in the Sandusky area Sunday night, affecting more than 9,000 customers, according to Toledo Edison owner FirstEnergy Corp. The outage, which lasted for about 30 minutes, occurred about 7:50 p.m. in Sandusky and the surrounding area. The exact cause is unknown.

Cedar Point amusement park said it was hit about 8:15 p.m. It lasted for about 15 minutes and Twitter users reported some people were stuck on the rides.

Can you imagine if this are lost its power for a week or two? How many millions of dollars would be lost to the area?

You have to feel sorry for the business owners and visitors of the Outer Banks.

Joe Centers is Reflector Managing Editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

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