Power should be fully restored on all of North Carolina's Outer Banks in less than a week, officials said late Tuesday.
New power poles are now all in place and crews have started the more delicate, careful work of connecting the new lines to the underground power cable that provides electricity to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said in a news release.
That work along with extensive testing should be finished sometime between Saturday and Monday when full power can be restored, the utility said.
"At this point we are still saying it will take 3 to 5 days from today," said Laura Ertle, a spokeswoman for the Cooperative. "Once these lines are connected to the grid, we do need to energize them and then gradually begin to introduce load. So it's not that once they're hooked up we just flip a switch and everything's fixed."
The outage was caused when crews from PCL Construction building a new bridge over the Oregon Inlet severed the underground line Thursday. Generators have been brought in but can't produce enough electricity to support the estimated 50,000 visitors during a typical summer week.
Crews are also trying to fix the underground line, but the cables sit under the water table and near the sound on the west side of the island. Workers can't keep water out of the box where the line runs long enough to do repairs, the electric cooperative said.
At least three lawsuits filed this week seek compensation from PCL Construction. Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that he believes the company responsible should pay for damages once all the facts are known.
Lawsuits filed in state and federal courts say the company building the long-needed replacement bridge over Oregon Inlet was negligent and should pay for the financial losses suffered by businesses at the peak of vacation season.
The company declined comment in response to the lawsuits.
Reporter Liz Schlemmer contributed to this report.