HELCO Still Working to Stabilize Grid after Storm

On the second day after a storm that generated 140 mile-per-hour winds on Mauna Kea and sent trees and and utility poles crashing to the ground from Ocean View to North Kohala,  Hawaii Electric Light Company is still working to restore power to 5,000 customers in Kamuela, Hamaku, Ka`u, Hawi, and sections of Hilo and Puna, including much of Volcano. But customers in outlying areas may have to wait a while, since HELCO is concentrating first on restoring its overall grid.

“Today’s priority was to stabilize the island’s transmission system which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to reliable service,” said a HELCO press release this morning.  All cross-island transmission lines were repaired and put back in service today except one section in the Puukapu area. Next, crews will focus on repairing the distribution line infrastructure and restoring pocket outages in neighborhoods.

The saddle area between Honoka`a and Waimea was particularly hard-hit.  HELCO said that customers from Lindsey Road to Ahualoa could expect to be without power for three days.

“Hawaii Electric Light asks customers who have not yet reported their power outage to call its trouble line at 969-6666,” stated the press release. “Due to the high call volume, customers may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative. The company sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks customers for their patience and understanding.”

Those with power outages and downed power lines not previously reported can call HELCO at 969-6666.

Hawaii County Civil Defense has also reported that water service is disrupted in “areas above Hawi Road including Beers Road, Maliu Ridge, and Ka’ahuhu Road….  An emergency water spigot has been set up at the senior housing subdivision near the Kohala Hospital.  For questions regarding water service please call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8790.”

Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s Web site states that “Current outage information is no longer available on this Web page, and refers customers to a phone number, 643-2100. That number, today, simply stated that outages and other problems were occurring in “various areas around all islands.”

Currently, all major roads and highways are open, but downed trees, debris and surf damage may still need to be cleared on some feeder and  subdivision roads. Coastline erosion has closed one lane of Ali`i Drive between Hualalai Road and Walua Road in Kailua-Kona.  Traffic there  is limited to north-bound traffic in one lane.

A high wind warning is still in effect for summit areas of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.





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