HELCO Power Restoration Update – Estimated 1,900 Remain Without Power

Hawaii Electric Light is reporting steady progress in restoring electric service to customers who lost power as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. Service to an additional 800 customers was restored yesterday, primarily in upper Puna. Currently, an estimated 1,900 customers remain without power.

Bottom of Maku'u Drive today.

Bottom of Maku’u Drive today.

Service was restored to the end of the Pahoa-Kalapana Road. Restoration progress also was made in Hawaiian Acres, Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores, and Hawaiian Paradise Park. Pockets of customers within these areas may still be out of power.

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 19 tree trimming crews, and 30 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles. The combined workforce will include crews from Hawaii Island, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and contracted companies.

Areas of work

Today, electrical line crews expect to continue making progress in the following areas: Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Seaview Estates, Kapoho, Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Acres and other portions of upper Puna.

Some areas of focus today include:

  • Nanawele Estates – In Nanawale Estates, crews are working on the main power line that brings electric service to the subdivision. Contracted crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Leilani Estates – In Leilani Estates, crews have restored power along Leilani Boulevard and are now working on Kahukai Street and side streets, which suffered extensive damage from fallen trees.
  • Seaview Estates – In Seaview Estates, crews are working to restore service to affected customers on side streets in isolated areas. Contracted crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Kapoho – In Kapoho, crews are working on the main power line along Kapoho Road to Kapoho Beach Lots.
  • Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores – In Hawaiian Beaches, crews are still addressing side streets in the vicinity of Puni Makai North.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park – In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews will be replacing poles on side streets within the subdivision and restoring power.

Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Even if customers don’t see crews in their area, we want customers to know that work is being done to restore power to their communities. In many cases, additional work on the electric system is needed in other locations to restore service.

Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks – and in some cases, even longer – to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage. Actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

New location for Customer Information Center in Puna

Hawaii Electric Light’s Customer Information Center is located at the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna. It will remain open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – and longer if needed – as the restoration process continues. The center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches is closed.

Company representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. A charging station also will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there.

For more information on the Customer Information Center, call (808) 969-6999. To report outages or downed lines, call (808) 969-6666. Please do not call the Hawaiian Shores Community Center.

Background on restoration process

The process for restoring service involves many steps that need to be coordinated to ensure public and utility workers’ safety. We also must ensure we deploy the right resources to ensure crews can restore power as quickly as possible. Here’s an overview of the restoration process:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers, and power lines – that need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then need to clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there may still be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

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