Final stages of power restoration continues on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island
200 workers make repairs to restore last 3,200 customers
Release Date: 12/8/2021
HONOLULU, 1 p.m., Dec. 8, 2021 - More than 200 Hawaiian Electric repair crew members, technicians and system operators are working non-stop on three islands to restore electricity to the last groups of customers still without power after windstorms and torrential rain caused damage across the state.
"We know some people haven't had electricity for several days and we know they're frustrated," said Scott Seu, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. "Some people are also frustrated that we haven't been able to give them a firm estimate on when the lights will come back on. I want to acknowledge that frustration and assure you that our crews are working as quickly and safely as possible under challenging conditions. I know it's been hard but thank you for hanging in, we really appreciate your patience and understanding."
As of this hour, an estimated 3,200 customers are still without power: 400 on Oahu, 200 on Maui and 2,600 on Hawaii Island. While most will be restored today, customers who are still without power should plan for the potential of at least another day without electricity.
Oahu: Service has been restored to about 80% of customers who lost power in downtown Honolulu after major flooding at the Iwilei substation damaged three transformers Monday. Underground crews also replaced 300 feet of high-voltage flood-damaged cable yesterday and today continue to make repairs to restore power to remaining customers, including several office buildings and condominiums.
Downtown Honolulu customers whose power has been restored may experience brief outages today as crews work to test circuits and restore remaining customers. The underground system in downtown Honolulu is one of the most complex of Hawaiian Electric's grids, and crews are going from vault to vault to repair equipment.
Maui: Crews are continuing work today to restore power to customers in pockets of Pukalani, Kula, Haiku, Wailuku, Lahaina and Hana. The Haleakala Crater summit will remain without power for an extended time due to downed power lines.
The storm caused significant damage to the island's transmission system and hundreds of distribution and individual service line were outages scattered throughout the island. In some cases, there is unsafe access due to the terrain with multiple large, downed trees blocking roads that needed to be removed ahead of repairs, as well as storm runoff water in gulches. Crews are hiking in by foot with gear and repair equipment to make repairs in the upper Kula area because it cannot be safely accessed by helicopter or off-road vehicles at this time.
Hawaii Island: Crews are continuing damage assessments and responding to widespread outages in Puna and Kona. Puna areas include Leilani Estates, Eden Roc Estates, Nanawale, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Ainaloa, Kurtistown, Fern Acres, and Volcano. Kona areas include Kailua, Kaloko, Holualoa, Captain Cook, and Kealia.
The majority of outages involve trees that have fallen into power lines. Crews sometimes need to trim or clear trees before they can begin repairs. Hawaiian Electric works with state, county and contract tree trimmers to remove fallen trees and large trees that are blocking roadways
There were no significant damage or outages on Molokai and Lanai.
Several more crews from Oahu arrived on Maui and Hawaii Island this morning to assist with outage restoration. An estimated 200 employees are solely focused on restoration work.
It's important to note that new outages often occur after a storm, with more trees falling into power lines because the ground is over-saturated.
Call volume has been heavy and we apologize to customers who have had a hard time getting through. We encourage customers to continue reporting electric hazards, such as downed power lines or poles. We will post power restoration updates on our social media channels as soon as that information is available.