Local News

Electricians In High Demand At Top-Dollar Wages In Wake Of Storm

Posted December 11, 2002 4:38 a.m. EST

— Getting power service restored to their neighborhood hasn't really helped a lot Triangle residents.

For owners of homes that have had meter boxes damaged, it still could be a long time before the lights come back on.

Damaged meter boxes have to be replaced before the power is returned. But buying a new box doesn't completely solve the problem.

After the new box is purchased, a licensed electrician has to be hired to perform the replacement operation.

Once the replacement work is done, the wait still won't be over. The work will have to pass an inspection by the city or county.

As long as the wait for power can be, the worst part for some could be hiring an electrician. That can be costly.

Electrician Andy Henderson said that, depending on the damage, the cost to replace a meter box could be as much as $3,000.

"It's a good thing," Henderson said. "It's a bad thing to happen for the community. But it's a good thing right here at Christmas if you're a licensed electrician."

Power boxes were damaged by the hundreds during last week's ice storm, destroyed by falling trees and debris.

Experts say that even if someone has power now, that person should still contact a licensed electrician if the meter box sustained damage. Wires inside the walls of the house or fuse box could be loose, and that could create a fire hazard.

That has left people scrambling to find available electricians.

With so many people in the same predicament, the wait for an electrician can be long.

Jim Casey is one such resident who has watched the lights come on all around him. But his house will remain dark until he can get his damaged box replaced.

"It's very frustrating," Casey said. "Not just a little. Very frustrating."