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SATURDAY UPDATE 1 P.M.: Hawaiian Electric continues work to restore power to parts of West Maui
Release Date: 8/12/2023
KAHULUI, Aug. 12, 2023 – Hawaiian Electric restoration efforts continue today with more than 300 Hawaiian Electric employees and contractors working to safely bring power back to communities in West Maui and Upcountry. Employees from Oahu, Hawaii Island, Molokai and Lanai are also providing additional response resources, including staffing, expertise, materials and equipment to expedite and respond to the restoration efforts on Maui.
Today, crews are setting up a mobile substation at the damaged Lahainaluna substation to help restore power to customers in the neighboring subdivision, which includes homes, three schools and county water facilities. Crews today are also working to replace some of the estimated 40 poles and other equipment damaged by the fire and high wind. Additional damage assessments by helicopter in the air and on the ground are being conducted and extensive restoration repairs are continuing in areas that are safe and accessible.
On Friday, Hawaiian Electric restored power to one of three main transmission lines serving West Maui and restored service to about 3,700 customers in Napili, Puukolii, and Mahinahina, where essential public services, such as water pumps, and first responder facilities are located. The number of customers restored is still relatively small and the aim is for additional circuits to be brought online this weekend.
Because there has been a tremendous amount of damage to the system at the distribution and substation level – these are the parts of the system that deliver electricity to communities and neighborhood – the system is still fragile and the restoration must be done carefully to, above all, ensure the safety of the public and our workers.
After the power comes back on, there may be intermittent outages. All Maui customers are asked to be mindful of their use of electricity and conserve by limiting non-essential uses. In Upcountry Maui, 74 customers remain without power, and crews are working to repair equipment, though they are being challenged by a number of burned trees and branches.
Hawaiian Electric President and Chief Executive Officer Shelee Kimura has been on site on Maui to support the response efforts and to ensure that the company’s full resources across the five islands the company serves are responding to support the needs of the Maui community. Kimura and the company continue to coordinate closely with state, county and emergency response officials in the restoration planning and community response efforts.
“Hundreds of Hawaiian Electric employees from across the islands are on the front lines on Maui, working with many others to safely restore electricity, assess damage, remove debris and support our families, neighbors and employees,” Kimura said. “At times of crisis, Hawaii always comes together and Hawaiian Electric will be here to work with our communities to recover and rebuild, no matter how long it takes.”
The HEI Charitable Foundation, which is administered by Hawaiian Electric’s parent company, has donated $100,000 to assist recovery efforts -- $50,000 to Maui United Way and $50,000 to the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund. American Savings Bank, whose parent company is also HEI, has donated $100,000, including to the American Red Cross.
As a reminder, customers affected in West Maui and parts of Upcountry have received notifications that bills and payment collections are currently on hold. If you have questions, contact customer service at 808-871-7777.
If using a portable generator, carefully follow instructions in the manufacturer's manual, for your safety and the safety of Hawaiian Electric employees working to restore electricity to the distribution system. Don’t plug household electrical outlets to the generator. Instead, plug your equipment or appliance directly into the generator. Make sure the wattage requirements of the appliance don’t exceed the capacity of your generator or extension cord. Also, be sure to provide adequate ventilation for exhaust and cooling. And store reserve fuel in a safe place away from the generator or any other equipment that might ignite the fuel; use containers designed for fuel storage.
Everyone is reminded to exercise caution as certain areas are brought back online and to stay away from downed power lines – at least 30 feet or more (at least two car lengths). If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Report downed lines immediately by calling Hawaiian Electric’s Maui Trouble Line at 808-871-7777.
Updates are also available at hawaiianelectric.com/windstormresponse.