July 29, 2017

Severed Transmission Cable Exposed; Testing
Planned to Determine Repair Timeline

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, July 27.

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 not damaged.]”

“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.

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