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Mon July 31, 2017 - National Edition
Residents and vacationers on Outer Banks islands in North Carolina have been forced to evacuate after a construction company damaged power cables on July 27. The trouble began when PCL Construction accidentally drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line on July 27 while they were working on building the new Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, CNN reported. The incident cut off power from the Oregon inlet south to Ocracoke.
Mandatory evacuation is currently in place for both Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, affecting around 70,000 visitors, Time reported. Full-time residents and business owners have been told that they can stay, but the lack of tourists means that the local economy will likely take a hit.
Gregory Poole Steps In
Those staying will rely on generators to keep their air conditioning and appliances going, CNN reported. Gregory Poole, a Raleigh-based CAT dealer, brought in 12 of the brand's XQ1000 and XQ2000 generators, WNCN reported. The generators, which will cost between $500,000 and $1 million to run, should be able to power between 500 and 600 houses.
Steve Leese, EPG sales business manager for Gregory Poole, said, “There's a control switch gear in [the generator] that allows this machine to parallel with other machines of similar size and capacity and voltage,” WNCN reported.
“Gregory Poole is pleased and excited to be able to assist Hatteras EMC and Tideland EMC with their portable power needs as a result of the utility feeder outage,” Leese said. “Gregory Poole was able to deliver 23mW of portable power (11-2mW and 1-1mW power modules) in 24 hours. This was all made possible by the fantastic support of the greater Caterpillar Dealer network, the freight delivery teams and NCDOT, who were all instrumental in assisting Gregory Poole provide the equipment and services in a judicious and timely manner that Hatteras EMC and Tideland EMC requested.”
Carolina CAT Lends a Hand
In order to get all of the necessary equipment out to the islands, Gregory Poole called on Carolina CAT Power Systems, a Caterpillar distributor serving the western part of North Carolina, to help out. According to Carolina CAT's Electric Power Generation Rental Manager, Drew Sheorn, the company supplied one 2mW CAT generator and three 2mW transformers.
According to Sheorn, Carolina CAT has provided the islands with generators in the past, so they knew which pieces would work.
“The CAT dealer network, combined, has the largest fleet of portable generators in the country, Sheorn said. “We are all professionals in the emergency power business, and we know and understand what it takes to work together as a team to support any dealer dealing with any situation. We embrace and understand the sense of urgency that is required to seamlessly and efficiently provide the necessary equipment to get the power back on as quickly and safely as possible. Regardless of where the emergency situation happens, the CAT dealer network makes it possible for our customers to make one phone call to their local dealer - no matter how much, how soon, or for how long the equipment is needed, the rental power team at that dealer delivers the best solutions to get the power back on. The way we mobilize so much equipment and work together in any emergency event is very impressive to witness, and something that we are proud to be a part of.”
According to Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC), only two of the three underground transmission cables were damaged in the incident, and they are working on two ways to restore power in the area: “The underground solution is to continue the excavation and de-watering process, digging to greater depths to reach and splice the second damaged cable,” CHEC announced July 31. “Splicing on the first damaged cable is complete. Installation efforts began early this morning on the second solution—building a new overhead transmission line that will run from the south end of Bonner Bridge to meet the cooperative's existing overhead transmission line.”