Roots Run Deep

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Maui Electric History

The demand for power that has fueled the growth of the Hawaiian Islands has been met by us for well over a century. And as the next millennium unfolds, we are committed to providing quality service and seeking clean local energy sources to power generations of Hawaii families and businesses to come.

1881: From Plantations to Power

  • Claus Spreckels demonstrated the first electric lights on Maui at Spreckelsville Mill in 1881.
  • The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, HC&S - founded by Claus Spreckels- installed the first oil-fired power plant in Hawaii to serve the Puunene Mill in 1907.
  • Island Investment Company formed the Island Electric Company to provide Wailuku town with electricity in 1911. The company folded in 1919.

1921: The Birth of Maui Electric Company

  • Maui Electric Company, Ltd. was established in 1921.
  • Maui extended service to Paia, Haiku, Hula, and Makawao in 1933.

1942: The War Years

  • Nearly half of the power HC&S generated was delivered to the military by Maui Electric to support wartime power requirements in 1942.
  • Maui Electric built its first power plant in Kahului in 1948.

1950: The Boom Years

  • Maui Electric expanded its Kahului power plant by adding a 12,000-kv unit in 1954.
  • Maui Electric extended along radial 23-kv transmission feeder up the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala in 1955.
  • Maui Electric built a 69-kv transmission line from Kahului to Lahaina in 1957.

1963: Expansion of Service

  • A new main office was built in Kahului in 1963.
  • Hana Light & Power merged with Maui Electric in 1964.
  • Maui Electric energized its new 23-kv, 41-mile Hana transmission circuit in 1964.
  • Maui Electric added 14,000-kv unit to its Kahului Power Plant in 1966.
  • Maui Electric took over Lahaina Light & Power from Pioneer Mill making it an island-wide utility in 1967.
  • Maui Electric joined Hawaiian Electric Company in 1968.

1971: Electrifying Maui County

  • Maalaea plant is built in 1971.
  • Maui Electric reaches on agreement with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company for the purchase of bagasse electric energy equaling approximately 10 percent of Maui Electric's needs, 1980.

1985: Operational Highlights

  • A new system, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, to monitor and control the distribution of power on Maui came into operation at mid-year and increased the reliability of service to customers, 1985.
  • With load demand building steadily on Maui, the company purchased two high speed diesel generators from the Central Intelligence Agency facility in Langley, Virginia, 1986.
  • Maui Electric contracted with CH2M Hill consulting firm to digitize its transmission and distribution maps, 1987.
  • Maui Electric acquired Lanai City Power Plant on Lanai in 1988.
  • Maui Electric acquired Molokai Electric Company in 1989.

1990: Growth Continues

  • The Grand Hyatt Hotel at Wailea entered the grid. The 800-room resort was Maui Electric's largest single customer in 1990.
  • Excluding an adjustment to unbilled revenues, Maui Electric's kilowatt hour sales were up 6% in 1991 from 1990 levels, in part due to the opening of three resort hotels on Maui.
  • In 1994, a 15 mile, 69-kv transmission line increased the capacity and enhanced reliable service to Maui utility customers. The project from Maalaea to Kula includes a switching station that will be built in 1995 on the slopes of Haleakala.

1998: Powering Our Communities

  • Maui Electric completed a new 20-megawatt combustion turbine at Maalaea plant in 1998.
  • Maui Community College honored Maui Electric as "Community Partner of the Year" in 2001.
  • Maui Electric received over $1 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to help fund solar for rural families on Molokai in 2003.

2004: Building Energy Through Partnerships

  • Maui Electric signed an agreement to buy power from a 30-megawatt wind farm at Kaheawa Pastures in 2004.
  • In 2006, Kaheawa Wind Partners new 30-megawatt wind farm on Maui became Hawaii's largest wind farm to date.
  • Maui Electric provided Lanai residents with energy from the largest single-site solar farm in Hawaii, La Ola Solar Farm in 2009.

2012: Our Clean Energy Future

  • Auwahi Wind, a 21 megawatt wind farm began commercial operation in 2012.
  • Kaheawa Wind II, a 21 megawatt wind farm began commercial operation in 2012.
  • 1.2 megawatt La Ola Solar Farm reaches full capacity, 2012.
  • Maui Electric, along with Hawaiian Electric Company, among nation's top utilities for solar power, 2012.
  • Maui Electric makes operational improvements to use more wind energy, 2013.