Pahoa Roundabout Contract Awarded – Pre-Construction On Schedule To Begin In September

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises motorists well in advance of an upcoming detour as it plans for construction of the new Pahoa Roundabout on Hawaii Island. Beginning in mid- to late September the HDOT anticipates construction signage will begin to go up and construction preparation work will begin as the contractor prepares a temporary detour route.

pahoa round

The detour is anticipated to be put in place in mid- to late October, closing the Pahoa Bypass and diverting traffic onto Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard.

Detour conditions will be as follows:

  • Complete closure of Pahoa Bypass Road from Pahoa Village Road to Kahakai Boulevard
  • 24-hour detour onto Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard
  • Temporary traffic signal at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard
  • Detour speed limit of 25 mph
  • Left turn pocket lane created for Pahoa Marketplace

The $4.8 million project awarded to Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd, in June of 2014, is expected to begin pre-construction activities in September with completion in summer of 2015. The purpose of this project is to provide a safe, efficient, and accessible facility for all users including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists. The project was needed to address safety and traffic congestion as well as address future increases in traffic volumes.

The HDOT is working to schedule a public meeting prior to opening the upcoming detour. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for early October. Please stay tuned as more information on the meeting will be forthcoming as the date, time and location are finalized.

 

Leaders Begin Process of Developing Hazard Mitigation Plan for Albizia on the Big Island

Today, Senator Schatz met with Mayor Kenoi’s cabinet, HELCO, State Senator Ruderman, Director of Civil Defense Darryl Oliveira, representatives from the Big Island Invasive Species Council and the U.S. Forest Service, to begin the process of developing a hazard mitigation plan for albizia on the Big Island.

Senator Brian Schatz is back in Puna today.  Earlier he could be spotted handing out supplies to Hurricane Iselle victims at the Nanawale Longhouse.

Senator Brian Schatz is back in Puna today. Earlier he could be spotted handing out supplies to Hurricane Iselle victims at the Nanawale Longhouse.

Agreement was reached by all parties that all levels of government share responsibility for dealing with the hazard that these trees pose, and that the federal, state, and county government would provide financial and other resources towards this mitigation plan. HELCO also agreed, subject to approval by the PUC, to participate in the hazard mitigation program.

The next steps are to assemble all key stakeholders, and develop a hazard mitigation plan with a budget, and determine cost sharing. The target timeframe is to assemble the key stakeholders, and develop a preliminary hazard mitigation plan as soon as possible.

“Albizia wreaked havoc on power infrastructure and damaged private property, and we have to work together to minimize the likelihood that this happens again. I’m thankful for Mayor Kenoi’s leadership and assistance in helping to put together the resources necessary to mitigate this problem.”

Congresswoman Gabbard Releases Details on Steps to Get Federal Aid for Puna

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released details on the next steps that must be taken to quickly and effectively bring federal aid to Puna residents on Hawaiʻi Island whose homes and property were damaged by Hurricane Iselle.

Hayden and Tulsi Squatting

The congresswoman spent Friday with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials and employees of the Hawaiʻi County Office of Housing visiting people’s homes and meeting with residents, as FEMA assessed the cost of damages and gathered information for a detailed report that will be submitted to Governor Abercrombie. The governor will then be able to request federal aid from President Obama through a disaster declaration.

“I’m urging FEMA, Hawaiʻi County, the governor, and President Obama to expedite the process of declaring Iselle’s devastation a natural disaster so that the people of Puna can receive immediate help,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, whose congressional district includes all of Hawaiʻi Island. “I’ve met with residents who have lost everything, and though they’ve shown strength, resiliency, and compassion for their neighbors, many families in Puna are looking for federal assistance to start putting their lives back together after this overwhelming storm.”

FEMA assessments have been finalized except for a small category to be completed today. Although homes and residential area assessments are complete, the infrastructure damage evaluation will take another two to three more days. The governor and his staff are working through all of the assessment details now and will request federal aid from President Obama when they’re confident they have all of the pertinent data; they expect to have a timeline by this evening.

On Friday, Rep. Gabbard was briefed by Hawaiʻi Army National Guard Colonel Moses Kaoiwi at Keaukaha Military Reserve’s Emergency Operations Center in Hilo. He showed an overview of the damage caused by Hurricane Iselle on Hawaiʻi Island, and they discussed the progress of relief efforts and plans to move forward.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard continues to work with federal, state, and county officials to ensure that every available resource is being utilized to expedite recovery efforts and provide the services, supplies, and tools that are needed to guarantee the safety, health, and wellbeing of all those affected by Hurricane Iselle. The Disaster Assistance Recovery Centers (DARC) are still operating and federal, state, and local agencies are there to continue assisting people in need. As of this morning, water service has been restored to all areas of Hawaiʻi Island affected by Iselle, while approximately 1,500 customers are still without electricity.

HELCO Power Restoration Update – Estimated 1,500 Without Power

Hawaii Electric Light continues to make progress in restoring electric service to customers who lost power as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. Service to an additional 400 customers was restored Sunday. Currently, an estimated 1,500 customers remain without power.

HELCO Work

Significant progress has been made in: Hawaiian Acres, Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Seaview Estates, and Black Sands Beach. Pockets of customers within these areas may still be out of power. Customers in those areas who are still without power should report it by calling 969-6666.

Areas of work

Today, electrical line crews expect to continue making progress in the following areas: Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Kapoho, Lanipuna Gardens, Tangerine Acres, and portions of upper Puna.

Some areas of focus today include:

  • Nanawele Estates – electrical line crews are working on the main power line that brings electric service to the subdivision. Tree trimming and construction crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Lanipuna Gardens – electrical line crews are working on repairs. Tree trimming and construction crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Tangerine Acres – electrical line crews are working on repairs. Tree trimming and construction crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Leilani Estates – electrical line 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 – electrical line crews are working on the main power line that brings service to the subdivision. Tree trimming crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees.
  • Kapoho – electrical line crews are working on the main power line along Kapoho Road to Kapoho Beach Lots.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park – electrical line 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, estimates indicate it could approximately 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 was relocated on Aug. 16 to Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna, and 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.

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.

Pahoa Red Cross Shelter Closing Today at Noon

The Pahoa Red Cross Shelter that was set up after Hurricane Iselle struck the Big Island is closing today at 12:00.  Folks that have been staying there will need to find other places to stay.

Shelter221 folks slept there last night according to the Red Cross supervisor that was on hand this morning.

Shelter1I’d like to personally say thanks to all the Red Cross Volunteers that have pitched in their own personal time to help our community that has been hit by Iselle.

They don’t get paid to do what they are doing so the next time you do see someone asking for contributions for the Red Cross… think about what they have done for our own community the last 11 days.

Video – Highway 132 After Hurricane Iselle

After Hurricane Iselle hit the Big Island of Hawaii, the Puna District was hit hardest.  Highway 132 is the highway that many folks use to get to Kapoho and the Pohoiki areas of the Big Island.

Emergency sign announcing the closure of Highway 132.

Emergency sign announcing the closure of Highway 132.

The Highway remained closed for nearly a week as road crews and HELCO crews worked to clear the damages that was done.

Yesterday, I took a drive through there and this is what I was shocked to see… mind you that when you use to drive this route… you couldn’t even see the sky because the canopy of trees literally covered the road.

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.

Senator Schatz to Rejoin Team in Puna to Assist with Iselle Recovery Efforts

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced he will rejoin his team, who have remained on the ground in Puna, on Tuesday to assist with the recovery efforts, specifically focusing on federal funds, the mitigation of albizia trees, and disaster recovery.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele hep unload ice in Nanawale.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele help unload ice in Nanawale.

Schatz will meet with state and county officials and continue his collaboration with community members from Puna.

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

“I said on Friday night that my commitment to Puna’s recovery extends beyond any election or any election results, and I meant it,” Senator Schatz said. “This is going to take time and effort, and it won’t be easy, but I will continue to do everything that I can to be helpful.”

HELCO Power Restoration Update – 2,700 Customers Remain Without Power

Hawaii Electric Light reported continued progress in restoring power to customers who lost power as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. Service to an additional 1,100 customers was restored yesterday. Currently, an estimated 2,700 customers remain without power. Service was restored to the end of the Pahoa-Kalapana Road.

A pole down in Hawaiian Beaches

A pole down in Hawaiian Beaches

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 14 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, 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 on the main power line that brings 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.
  • Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores – In Hawaiian Beaches, crews have restored main lines to the end of Kahakai Boulevard. Crews are still addressing side streets in the vicinity of Puni Makai North and South.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park - In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews have restored most of the main lines along Makuu and are focusing on Paradise Drive between 19th and 12th Avenues and side streets, which suffered extensive damage from trees. Crews will be replacing poles on side streets within the subdivision and restoring power.
  • Hawaiian Acres - In Hawaiian Acres, crews are working to restore power along Roads 1 to 4.

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.

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

Beginning today, Hawaii Electric Light’s Customer Information Center has moved to the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna. 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 will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there. The center will remain open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – and longer if needed – as the restoration process continues.

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.

Free Self Storage for Iselle Victims

A-American Self Storage is offering 60 days of free self-storage to Hawaii residents who have been affected by Hurricane Iselle on the Big Island of Hawaii.

storage

Please contact the local storage office in Keaau, Hawaii for more information at (808) 966-4040.

“We care about our community and hope to assist anyone who was affected by this storm,” said Josh Paterson, Vice President.

Hurricane Iselle was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii in recorded history causing heavy rain, flooding and power outages.

For 41 years, A-American Self Storage has been committed to family ideals and values, and has maintained storage roots in the communities they serve. A-American was founded in 1973 as one of the first self-storage companies by owner, Edmund C. Olson.

http://www.aamericanselfstorage.com

HELCO Customer Information Center Moved to Leilani Estates Community Center

Hawaii Electric Light Company will move its Customer Information Center to the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna beginning Saturday, August 16. The center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches will be closed.

“As we continue to restore electric service in upper Puna, we also want to reach out to customers in other areas still without power,” said Rhea Lee, Hawaii Electric Light spokeswoman. “We know our customers want to know more about the work that’s being done to recover from this devastating storm. We appreciate their patience and want to assure them we’re working safely and as quickly as possible to restore power.”

The center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center. The center will remain open daily as the restoration process continues.

HELCO Power Restoration Update – Estimated 3,800 Customers With No Power Still

Crews continue to make progress on restoring power, restoring electric service to approximately 2,500 customers yesterday. Currently, an estimated 3,800 customers remain without power.

iselle dlnr

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 14 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, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna. In addition, crews expect to make progress down Pahoa-Kalapana Road.

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 for new utility poles.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park – In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews have restored most of the main lines along Makuu and are focusing on Paradise Drive and the area between 21st and 12th Avenues, which suffered extensive damage from trees.
  • Hawaiian Beaches – In Hawaiian Beaches, crews have restored main lines along Kahakai Boulevard down to Puni Makai Loop. Crews are still addressing side streets in the vicinity of Puni Makai South.
  • Leilani Estates – In Leilani Estates, crews have restored power along Leilani Boulevard and are now working on side streets, which suffered extensive damage from fallen trees.

In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees and debris and dig utility pole holes in Nanawale Estates, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Leilani Estates, Upper Puna, Keeau Agricultural Lots, and other areas throughout the Puna District. 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.

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.

Important safety information

As the restoration work progresses, Hawaii Electric Light urges the public to remember these important safety tips:

  • Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment.
  • 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, 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, endangering the public and utility crews. 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.

Hawaii Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Several hundred people have been visiting the center daily. Company representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. A charging station will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – and longer if needed – as the restoration process continues.

Assistance Offices for SNAP Beneficiaries on Hawaii Island

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) is opening four assistance offices for current SNAP beneficiaries on the east side of Hawaii Island.

Snap Card

BESSD representatives will be stationed at the below locations Mondays –Fridays between 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, through August 22. These sites will be closed Friday, August 15 for the Admissions Day holiday. They are: Hawaiian Shores Community Center; Nanawale Estates Community Association; Leilani Estates Community Center Association; and Hawaiian Paradise Park – Church of the Nazarene

DLNR/Division of Forestry & Wildlife Crews Assist with Hurricane Clean-up

Hurricane Iselle brought down or damaged thousands of trees in Hawaii Island’s Puna District. At the request of Hawaii County, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife crews have been operating chain saws and heavy equipment to clear entire trees, large limbs and other vegetation debris from roads in the Pahoa area.

iselle dlnr

Each day, since last Saturday, 12-16 DOFAW workers have felled countless trees, mostly invasive, non-native Albizia trees on main thoroughfares and side roads. Many of these roads were blocked, trapping people on their properties when the towering Albizia trees crashed down during the tropical storm.

DLNR Chair William J. Aila, Jr., said, “Teams from all of DLNR’s divisions have been working hard, often around the clock, to assess and if necessary repair damage caused by the storm. We opened state parks, forests and other recreational facilities as quickly as possible with safety for our staff and the people of Hawaii being paramount.”

DOFAW administrator Lisa Hadway singled out the sawyers helping to reopen roads on the Big Island. “It is tough, dirty, demanding, work; none of these people complain as they know they’re helping their friends, visitors and in some cases their own families,” she said.

 

Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) Statement on False Rumors of Uncontrolled Release

Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) is providing information regarding storm-related impacts to its 38-megawatt facility. This information is being distributed to area residents at community assistance centers including Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Shores and Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Centers as well as Kalani Honua Retreat and J. Hara Store.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

Tropical Storm-related Information from Puna Geothermal Venture

The night of Tropical Storm Iselle, Puna Geothermal Venture’s 38-megawatt power generating station on Hawaii Island was shutdown as designed. There was no “uncontrolled release” or “spill” at the facility contrary to some initial reports by commentators.

To prepare for the storm, PGV staff reviewed emergency procedures in anticipation of bad weather. PGV increased night shift crews through the storm and actively reduced the plant’s output in preparation of extreme weather conditions.

At about 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) lost both transmission lines that PGV connects to in order to transmit power to the electrical grid. With the loss of the transmission lines, the plant shutdown as designed.

By design and following approved procedures, steam was released through the emergency steam release facility. That steam was ABATED, that is, caustic soda and water were added to scrub the steam of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This was done according to regulatory procedures, per the approved emergency response plan. This process is part of PGV’s Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) air permit requirements.

The bulk of the steam was released within the first ten minutes. The residual energy of the steam system was safely released and the wells completely shut in in approximately 45 minutes. A relief valve malfunction resulted in a low flow of steam released for slightly longer until isolated approximately 15 minutes later.

During the early part of the steam release, there was a sulfur smell. A PGV employee monitored levels at the fence line and had a peak reading of 25 parts per billion. The DOH regulation requires that we not exceed 25 parts per billion (ppb) on an hourly average. The 25 ppb reading was a “peak,” and not sustained. This emission event was well below DOH regulatory limits.

Based on the air monitoring during the shutdown, emissions remained below permitted levels and there was never any danger or violation of environmental limits. There was no need to evacuate, but Hawaii County Civil Defense alerted residents that they could evacuate voluntarily.

To put this into perspective, it is important to note that OSHA standards allow workers without protective equipment to work in an area with 10 parts per million, or 10,000 parts per billion.

Inside the Puna Geothermal Ventures plant in Puna, Hawaii

Inside the Puna Geothermal Ventures plant in Puna, Hawaii

The plant has remained offline since the storm and PGV began scheduled maintenance work on Monday, August 11; this scheduled maintenance had been planned with HELCO a year ago. We anticipate restarting the plant as early as Friday, August 15 depending on transmission line availability from HELCO.

The scheduled maintenance includes routine inspections, equipment overhauls, mechanical and electrical repairs and testing.

There are about 70 employees and contractors at the PGV site on Pohoiki Road in Pahoa supporting the maintenance activity, and we have no reports of illness or nausea.

PGV continues to support the local community in recovery efforts through the local Red Cross.

What it means to “shut in wells”
The pressure and flow control valves automatically shut, through computer programming overseen with human interface. This stops the flow from the geothermal resource to the generators that produce power.

 

Senator Russell Ruderman on Friday’s Historic Vote – Endorses Schatz

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

Aloha Puna voters,

I hope you are all safe and recovering from Iselle. Hopefully most of you have electricity, and the rest will have it soon!

The voting issues caused by the storm are complex and frustrating. I am doing all I can to draw attention to the need for Puna voters impacted by the storm to have a fair opportunity to vote. For those assigned to a Pahoa voting place who were unable to vote, the issue remains unresolved.

For those assigned to HPP or Keonopoko, you will vote this Friday at Keonopoko, 7 am – 6 pm.

Both HPP voters and Keonopoko voters will vote at Keonopoko!

I am writing to encourage you to vote on Friday if this includes you. Due to the delayed voting, you will be the deciding votes in at least 3 races:

U.S. Senate
State Rep. Dist. 4
County Council Dist. 4

I urge you to vote for Brian Schatz for U. S. Senate.

Brian has been helpful in our crisis. More importantly he has reached out to me long before this election, before Puna become the momentary center of attention.

Brian has an excellent understanding of Puna’s real needs, including our need for transportation improvements, medical and emergency services, communications and connectivity, and more. Brian will be taking the lead in seeking funds for albizzia control as a long term, disaster preparedness issue.

Brian is approachable, honest, sincere, humble, and cares about people.

Above all, for me, Brian is a true environmentalist. He has shown concern for global warming, getting off oil, and invasive species, among other. Such concern is exactly what we need in Washington.

So please vote on Friday if you are in this group, and vote for Brian Schatz for U.S. Senate.

Mahalo,

Russell Ruderman, Hawai‘i State Senator

Safeway Sending 16 Tons of Ice to Puna District

Safeway is sending over 16 tons of ice – 32,400 pounds to the Puna District of the Big Island to help residents who are still without electricity following Tropical Storm Iselle.

The ice will be distributed through the American Red Cross aid station at the Pahoa Community Center on Thursday. The ice is expected to be available by 2 p.m.

Safeway is shipping two containers of ice from Oahu to Hilo to help meet the demand. Earlier this week, the company also trucked a container of ice from its store in Kailua-Kona to its store in Hilo.

“Many of our neighbors in the Puna area have been hit hard by Iselle and are still in need of basic supplies,” said George Glukfeld, Safeway Hawaii district manager. “This is the time for our entire community to pull together and do what we can to help in the relief effort.”

 

DHS Opens Assistance Offices for SNAP Beneficiaries on Hawaii Island

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) is opening four assistance offices for current SNAP beneficiaries on the east side of Hawaii Island.

Department of Human Services

BESSD representatives will be stationed at the below locations Mondays –Fridays between 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, through August 22. These sites will be closed Friday, August 15 for the Admissions Day holiday. They are: Hawaiian Shores Community Center; Nanawale Estates Community Association; Leilani Estates Community Center Association; and Hawaiian Paradise Park – Church of the Nazarene

Puna Disaster and Recovery Assistance Centers Announced

This is a Civil Defense message.

This is a Community Assessment and Assistance information update for Tuesday August 12at 7:00PM.   

Cots were set up in various parts of the Pahoa Community Center today.

Cots were set up in various parts of the Pahoa Community Center today.

HELCO crews continue to work on restoring power in the affected areas. About 6,800 customers remain without power. Thank you for your patience and understanding with this effort. Please do not interfere with the operations of the HELCO crews.

County, National Guard, and private crews continue to clear debris from roadways. All subdivisions currently have access to highways and main roadways, however there may be debris and obstructions within the subdivision roadways. Crews report that access to Wood Valley in Pahala has been cleared. Remember that all downed power lines should be treated as energized and avoided to ensure safety.

Hawaiian Shores reports that their water system is now operational and safe to drink.

Community Assistance Centers will be open tomorrow, Wednesday from noon to 4 P.M. at Community Centers in Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates, and Nanawale, as well as the Kalani Retreat Center.

These centers will offer water, ice, and other supplies while they last. Bring a container for ice or water as bags or bottles may not be available. If you are able to get to a retail store to get your supplies, we encourage you to do so and leave these supplies for those who cannot get to a store.

Damage assessments are ongoing and being conducted by the County Office of Housing and Community Development and the Hawai‘i National Guard.

The Hawai‘i State Emergency Management Agency and the County of Hawai‘i will set up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers on Hawai‘i Island to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged by the storm.

The schedule and location for the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers is:

  • Thursday August 14 and Friday August 15 from 8:00am to 8:00pm at the Pahoa Community Center
  • Saturday August 16 and Sunday August 17 from 8:00am to 8:00pm at the Mountain View Gym

For more information on the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers, contact the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency at (808)733-4300 or askcivildefense@scd.hawaii.gov

Puna Power Restoration Update From HELCO

Crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers affected by Tropical Storm Iselle. An estimated 6,800 – or about eight percent – of customers remain without power, down from an estimated 8,100 on Monday.

Today's update from HELCO

Today’s update from HELCO

“We understand many of our customers are still dealing with a very difficult situation. We are devoting every available resource to this effort. We have made progress and are committed to restoring power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Electrical line crews from West Hawaii have been redeployed to assist with the restoration. They joined a workforce that includes crews, equipment, and vehicles from East Hawaii, Oahu and Maui. Additional contracted crews include electrical line workers, construction crews to dig holes for new utility poles, and tree trimmers to clear fallen trees.

Collectively, these resources are allowing Hawaii Electric Light to maximize its efforts on restoring power in neighborhoods that are still without power.

Today, electrical line crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Hamakua, Upper Puna, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, and Hawaiian Paradise Park. Contracted crews will also be working in Leilani Estates and Nanawale. In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees, debris, and dig utility pole holes. This work is needed to prepare the area for electrical line crews to set new poles and repair fallen power lines and other damaged equipment. Restoration progress may be impacted by access to due storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Every community in the Puna district was impacted. There are pockets throughout the region where the damage is so severe that customers should be prepared for an extended outage. Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage, and in some cases even longer. These estimates are still preliminary and actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

As a safety precaution, customers should not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. Customers are also reminded not to 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, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Hawaii Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. An estimated 300 to 400 people visited the center when it opened on Monday. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.