Outer Banks business owners sue company responsible for…

Business owners in North Carolina’s Outer Banks are suing PCL Civil Constructors, the construction company that caused a massive power outage. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate during the height of the busy summer season.

Businesses say they are losing thousands of dollars a day. In 2015, visitors spent more than $1 billion in the Outer Banks.

Crews damaged the power lines Thursday while working to replace a major bridge. The mistake cut off power to Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper toured Hatteras Island on Monday, including the construction site where crews are scrambling to fix a damaged underground transmission line.
 
“This company made a mistake and cut these cables. And it is time to get it fixed,” Cooper said.
 
Utility providers have been ferrying in massive generators to help power homes and businesses for as many as 6,000 people still on the islands.
 
Since Thursday, nearly 50,000 visitors have been forced to evacuate. Police are turning away new visitors until power is restored.
 
“When the population leaves here, the economy is essentially gone and shutdown,” business owner Joe Thompson said.

In a class action lawsuit filed against PCL Civil Constructors, local business owners say they’ve suffered “thousands of dollars in losses.” They allege PCL Civil Constructors claimed it could save the state $60 million by using “innovative construction methods” and an “accelerated schedule.”
 
“We are about a week away from going under,” another business owner, Debra Scalia, said. She said the disruption has cost her surf shop up to $7,000 per day.
 
“That money, we need to get through the winter down here. And we just don’t have it,” Scalia said.
 
Gov. Cooper hopes business owners like Scalia can eventually be reimbursed.
 
“We don’t know what the legal landscape is at the moment. … But what people are concentrating on right now is… getting things on and up and working as soon as  we can,” Cooper said.

Relief could be made available to businesses in the form of state or federal funds after Cooper declared a state of emergency on Thursday. We reached out to PCL Civil Constructors regarding the lawsuit last night after business hours and are awaiting a response.

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