Power outage causes tourist dollars to leave Outer Banks

HATTERAS, N.C. (WNCN) - Lots of people and lots of dollars are leaving parts of the Outer Banks this weekend.

A company, PCL Construction, acknowledged it cut an electric transmission cable, knocking out power to Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands.

Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for Hyde and Dare counties.

Thousands of tourists are being told to leave the islands.

"We slept in a parking lot last night so we could get on this 7 o'clock ferry this morning," said Zach Futrell, a vacationer on Ocracoke.

PCL Construction, which is building a new bridge between the Outer Banks and the mainland, said it accidentally drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cable.

"We will look at this accident very carefully," said Cooper. "I think the company has already admitted responsibility for this and that they are going to have to be responsible for the damages."

PCL Construction responded through a 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," said Stephanie McCay, Manager of US Communications for PCL Construction. "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 North Carolina Department of Transportation said it is not aware of any other incidents like this that have happened involving the company and the Attorney General's office did not have any records of complaints against the company.

With the state of emergency declared, the governor said that makes it easier to get heavy equipment, like generators, to the islands.

"We're also waiting to see what the extent of the damage is," said Cooper. "They were looking at how long it was going to take to fix this."

Crews brought two 90,000-pound generators to the islands Friday to help try and restore some power.

The price gouging law also is in effect for Dare and Hyde Counties.

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