Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC)
continues restoration efforts in the wake of a transmission outage that
was caused when PCL Construction accidently drove a steel casing into
the cooperative’s underground transmission cable on Thursday morning,
PCL Construction, CHEC and New River
Construction, the cooperative’s transmission contractor, have worked to
excavate the site of the incident. CHEC’s transmission system is
three-phase, meaning there are three individual cables buried on the
south side of the bridge.
Crews have exposed one of the cables, revealing that it was severed by
the steel casing. Cooperative crews are working with New River
Construction to test the integrity of the other two cables - which
remain buried underground within the 7’ – 9’ deep range - to ensure
that only the one cable was damaged.
“We do have some options,” said Laura Ertle,
Director of Public Relations for CHEC. “Once we make sure these two
cables have not been compromised, we’ll focus our efforts on how to
repair the broken cable. As far as we’re concerned, this is a better
scenario than it could have been, provided the other two cables [are
“Crews are setting up to do the testing on the
two cables,” she added. “We’ll have a better estimate on time frame
after the testing is done. If it is just the one cable, that’s one of
the best scenarios we could have.”
Once it is confirmed that only one of the three
cables has been compromised, CHEC and New River Construction will move
forward to splice the cable back together. There are several challenges
to overcome before this can happen, as the damaged cable is missing
about a two foot section.
PCL Construction, New River Construction and CHEC
will continue to work around the clock until the repair is made.
Weather permitting, crews will test these cables on Saturday afternoon.
Dare County has issued a mandatory evacuation of
all non-residents on Hatteras Island, due to life safety issues from
the loss of reliable electrical power.
CHEC will continue to supply temporary power
through the Buxton diesel generators and portable generators until the
transmission repairs are complete.