Gov. Abercrombie Signs Formal Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration asking for federal assistance to help pay for damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, which impacted Hawaii from Aug. 7 to 9, 2014.

Shaka For HELCOThe request seeks Individual Assistance for Hawaii County. Individual Assistance would make additional funding, loans and services available to affected residents.

For updates on Iselle recovery efforts, visit the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website at: scd.hawaii.gov

Scams Targeting Iselle Victims Being Reported by HELCO

Hawaii Electric Light Company has been informed of scams targeting Hawaii Island customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

HELCO SCAM

Customers reported receiving telephone calls from someone claiming to be a Hawaii Electric Light claims representative. The customers were asked to provide their social security number.

Hawaii Electric Light wants to remind customers that the utility will not contact customers to request personal information or direct customers to submit payments via options other than those listed on the back of the billing statement.

For your safety and protection:

  • Never provide personal, confidential or financial information to an unidentified individual.
  • Ask questions or ask for proper identification. Request the individual’s name, company name, and phone number.
  • Be cautious when responding to callers from an unidentified phone number. Phone scammers want to remain anonymous.
  • Be aware that today’s technology can be used to mask the caller’s phone number and the caller ID could indicate the call is originating from Hawai‘i Electric Light, even though it is not.
  • Report any suspicious activity to local police.

To obtain a claim form, please visit one of our customer service locations in Hilo, Waimea or Kona or visit our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Video – Hurricane Iselle Disaster and Aftermath

Hurricane Iselle hit Hawaii on August 7th and caused severe damage to the Big Island. This video shows the Kapoho area.

Video – Hurricane Iselle Damage & Recovery in Puna, Hawaii

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Iselle devastated Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii on August 7, 2014.

Fragile invasive albizia trees shattered, downing utility lines and blocking major roads.

Falling Branches

The storm surge at Kapoho flooded and demolished homes. The community immediately started to pitch in with food, water, and ice. The government efficiently organized resources, and cleared roads and beach parks and HELCO is working overtime to get electricity back to folks systematically.

Much mahalos to everyone for your aloha spirit during this challenging time. Imua!

HELCO Power Restoration Update – Nanawale Estates Still Without Power

Electric service has been restored to approximately 300 customers in Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots who have been without power following Tropical Storm Iselle. At this time, more than 99 percent of Hawaii Island customers now have power.

Power Line

An estimated 800 customers remain without power. Nearly all of these customers are in Nanawale Estates, where electrical line crews are focusing their efforts and expect to make more progress today.

The storm caused extensive damage in that area, with many streets impacted by fallen trees, downed power lines and damaged utility poles. Tree-trimming and construction crews have been working in those areas to clear roads and dig holes for poles, so electrical line crews can move in and work safely and efficiently.

In the interests of safety, crews will complete repairs before restoring power to the subdivision. Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

“We understand how hard it’s been for these customers who have been without power for such a long time. We assure them that we we’re committed to restoring service to all of our customers,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Customers in other areas who are still without power should report their outage by calling 969-6666.

Utility crews are working with the county and other agencies to clean up storm debris and damaged utility equipment. As a safety precaution, customers are reminded not to touch or move any fallen poles, lines or other utility equipment.

Electrical line crews are also continuing to work on smaller outages in the following areas:
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna Gardens. In addition, tree-trimming and hole-digging crews are continuing to work in Hawaiian Acres, Lanipuna Gardens, Mauna Loa Estates, Nanawale, Pohoiki Road, and Volcano.

Although crews have made good progress, it could still take another two 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.

Customer Information Center in Puna

Hawaii Electric Light’s Customer Information Center is at the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center will close after Friday, Aug. 22. After the center closes, customers may call 969-6666 for status updates.

Until then, company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairs. Free Wi-Fi access and a charging station will also be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there.

Electrical Safety

Hawaii Electric Light urges the public to remember these important safety tips:

  • Do not approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, do not approach them and call 9-1-1 for assistance.
  • Use generators outdoors and away from flammable materials. Generators connected directly to your home may feed excess electricity back into power lines, creating a public safety hazard. Plug appliances directly into your generator, using extension cords.
  • Unplug unnecessary and sensitive electronic equipment. Use high-quality surge suppressors for electric appliances that remain plugged in.
  • Use batteries to power flashlights and lanterns. Do not use candles or other flammable fuel sources, as they are fire hazards.
  • Be aware of trees and utility poles that were weakened by storm winds and have the potential for falling.
  • Anyone who is without power and who is dependent on electric-powered life support medical equipment should make arrangements to go to an alternate location with power. They should bring their medical equipment and medications with them. They should also stay in contact with their medical equipment supplier for any special equipment needs.

Big Island Police Capture Hale Nani Escapee

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 46-year-old Kona man on suspicion of escaping from the Hale Nani correctional facility early Thursday morning (August 21).

Sean Duyser

Sean Duyser

South Hilo Patrol officers arrested Sean Duyser of Kailua-Kona in Hilo at 11 a.m.

He had last been seen at 2 a.m. Thursday at Hale Nani, where he was serving a sentence for a misdemeanor theft conviction. The escape was reported at 3:34 a.m.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Contribute $25,000 to Hawaii Island United Way

Hawaii Electric Light, Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric have collectively contributed $25,000 to the Hawaii Island United Way. In addition, contributions from employees of the three utilities will be matched by the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation, up to a total of $10,000. All funds will be used to support Hawaii Island residents impacted by Tropical Storm Iselle.

Shaka For HELCO“Since the storm swept across our island, we’ve all seen how our community has come together to face the challenges,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “As our company ohana remains focused on restoring power to all of our customers, we’re thankful that Hawaii Island United Way is also directly providing relief to those most impacted by the storm.”

“We are so grateful for the support of the Hawaiian Electric Companies to provide for the victims of Tropical Storm Iselle,” said Jeanine Atebara, president & chief professional officer of Hawaii Island United Way. “We have a network of 40 nonprofit health and human service partner agencies which gives us the connections and contacts to link providers to those who need it most.”

In addition to financial contributions, Hawaii Island United Way is also accepting food donations which may be taken to the Food Basket in Hilo (40 Holomua Street) or Kona (left after Higashihara Park). For more information or to make a financial contribution, please visit www.hiunitedway.org.