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$10K Rebate on 2017 Nissan LEAF Sedan Extended for Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customers

Nissan North America’s $10,000 rebate offer on the all-electric 2017 LEAF® sedan has been extended through September 30, 2017 for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company customers. This is expected to be the last extension of this offer.

Customers should take their electric utility bill and the promotional flyer available at hawaiianelectric.com/nissanleaf to any participating Nissan dealer on Oahu, Maui or Hawaii Island to receive $10,000 off the sticker price of a new 2017 LEAF S, SV, or SL, while supplies last. With potential federal tax incentives, savings could total $17,500.

So far this year, over 300 customers have driven off Nissan dealership lots across the state in their new electric LEAFs, never to stop at a gas station again.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are leaders in the effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawaii to help customers save money, to put abundant and less-expensive solar resources to work and to move the state toward its clean energy goals.

The rebate is funded by Nissan. To find a participating Hawaii Nissan dealer, go to nissanusa.com/nissandealers/location/hawaii. The 107-mile range 2017 LEAF, which needs no gasoline, no oil changes and very little maintenance, has a starting price of $30,680.

Hu Honua Reaches Agreement with HELCO on Biomass Plant

Hu Honua Bioenergy announced today it has reached a settlement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) that will help put Hawaii Island closer to energy self-sufficiency.

The agreement puts its lawsuit on hold as it works with the utility to secure approval of an amended power purchase agreement (PPA) from the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

HELCO and Hu Honua have also agreed to an expedited procedural schedule that would make it possible to complete the plant by the end of 2018.

“We have come to terms with Hawaii Electric Light Company and now have a clear path, pending PUC approval, to get the plant built and operational in time to meet the federal tax credit deadline of December 31, 2018,” said Harold Robinson, president of Island BioEnergy, parent company of Hu Honua.

These developments come on the heels of a May 17 decision by the PUC to transfer review of the amended PPA to a new docket. The PUC cited several reasons for the docket transfer, including the request to consider a preferential rate in evaluating pricing, an element not considered in the 2012 docket.

In its amended PPA, HELCO requested approval of Hu Honua’s pricing based on HRS Section 269-27.3. The statute was enacted to increase energy self-sufficiency and enhance agricultural sustainability; it allows the PUC to approve preferential rates for renewable energy produced in conjunction with agricultural activities. In Hu Honua’s case, agricultural crops will be used to generate renewable biomass electricity.

“The Hu Honua project is the perfect candidate for utilizing the law,” Robinson said. “Through the cultivation and harvesting local eucalyptus trees, the project will bring a combination of agricultural benefits and renewable energy to Hawaii Island.”

If the amended PPA is approved, Hu Honua will have the capacity to provide up to 30-megawatts of firm renewable energy to HELCO’s power grid. The project will be a boost to the agricultural industry on Hawaii Island, triggering approximately 150 jobs in forestry, including logging and hauling eucalyptus trees, the primary feedstock for the biomass-to-energy facility. Ancillary jobs related to forestry and wood products are also anticipated, along with 200 construction jobs needed to complete work on the plant.

About Hu Honua

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC is located in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island. When completed, the Hu Honua facility will be able to produce up to 30-megawatts (MW) of clean renewable baseload power, which means the plant can deliver reliable power that can be dispatched 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When operating at capacity, Hu Honua will be able to produce approximately 14 percent of the island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per year.

For more information visit www.huhonua.com

Lightning Storm Causes Power Outages in East Hawaii

Hawaii Electric Light reports that customers in the Hilo and Puna districts experienced brief power interruptions due to lightning strikes from a storm system that swept through the island late yesterday afternoon. About 1,250 customers in the Hilo area experienced a longer interruption of about 1½ hours. Most customers were restored by early evening.

“After lightning strikes damaged utility equipment, crews responded immediately and rerouted electricity to restore power to most customers,” said company spokesperson Rhea Lee-Moku. “Our transmission and distribution systems are designed with redundancies, or duplicate critical components, that provide alternate routes if one component fails or is damaged. This allows us to improve reliability and restore power to customers more quickly until permanent repairs can be made.”

Following a damage assessment, crews will prioritize repairs to the equipment damaged by lightning.

To report an outage, please call 969-6666. Hawaii Electric Light also posts outage information on its Twitter account @HIElectricLight with the hashtag #BigIslandOutage.

Big Island Customer Grid-Supply Approaching Capacity Limit for Big Island

Customers who want solar still have options even as the capacity limit for rooftop solar systems that send excess power to the Hawaii Island grid is almost reached.

The Customer Grid-Supply program is approaching the 5-megawatt capacity limit set by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Hawaii Island. As of this week, the capacity of approved systems under the grid-supply program totals over four megawatts. However, customers will still be able to buy rooftop systems that don’t export to the grid but still offset a substantial part of their electric bill.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Under a Customer Self-Supply option, households are able to generate their own electricity and potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down. The PUC created the self-supply program as an alternative to the grid-supply program.

“On Hawaii Island, renewable energy is at an all-time high and comprises almost 50 percent of our generation mix,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Rooftop solar power is an important part of our plans to get to 100 percent renewable energy and we’re continuing to develop more options for customers to support our state’s renewable energy goals.”

Solar providers are developing a variety of self-supply systems that meet the technical specifications set by the PUC. This will ensure continued safe, reliable service for all customers and provide opportunities for more customers to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

For more information, go to https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/distributedenergyresources.

Customers on Oahu may continue to apply for the Grid-Supply program. Customers should choose a system that’s the right size for their household, meaning the system matches their actual energy use. Buying a system that is larger than necessary will cost more upfront and will not necessarily save more money than a right-sized system. In addition, customers who install right-sized systems help leave room on the grid for more customers to have rooftop solar.

HELCO – No Main Transmission Lines Damaged During Tropical Storm Darby

Hawaii Electric Light Company’s work to clear albizia trees helped ease the effects of Tropical Storm Darby on the island’s electric system. None of the main transmission lines that serve as the backbone of the island’s electric grid were damaged by falling albizia trees during Darby, unlike the widespread damage caused during Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014.

HELCO Albizia

“What was abundantly evident were the number of outages that were far below what we had expected throughout our districts given the high density of foliage and trees. specifically those remaining albizia tree stands in lower Puna,” said Ed Teixeira, Hawaii county director of emergency management. “There is no doubt, in my view, that Hawaii Electric Light’s proactive approach and monetary investment to mitigate the effects of tree and tree limb hazards along its transmission corridors directly contributed to the relatively low number of outages reported during the pre-landfall and landfall phases of Tropical Storm Darby.”

Those transmission lines suffered significant damage from falling albizia trees during Iselle, causing widespread outages and prolonging the power restoration process. Those trees needed to be cleared and the lines repaired first before line crews could work in neighborhoods impacted by the storm.

“These were different storms, but it appears the tree-clearing effort we began after Iselle made a difference for our customers. Darby did cause some localized outages in some communities, but it was not the same type of damage to our main transmission lines that caused widespread outages that we saw during Iselle,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president.

Falling trees, branches, and tree bark are the main cause of power outages on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Electric Light trims and removes trees and other vegetation island-wide throughout the year. Since 2014, it has spent an estimated $14 million and cleared nearly 94,000 trees, 31,000 of which were albizia.

After Iselle, Hawaii Electric Light focused its work on clearing albizia and other trees from the areas around its main transmission lines. Organizations like the Big Island Invasive Species Committee also worked to remove albizia from many of the communities throughout the lower Puna area that were severely impacted by Iselle.

Albizia, an invasive species in Hawaii, is known as one of the fastest growing trees in the world and is capable of reaching 200 feet. With broad, shallow root systems, the trees and their brittle limbs easily fall during strong winds.

Earlier this month, Hawaii Electric Light and the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced a new partnership to clear thousands of the invasive trees across the island. Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, Hawaii Electric Light will oversee $1.5 million in work by contractors over the next year to clear albizia, focusing on areas where trees threaten both state highways and utility equipment.

Temporary Closure of Pahoa Village Road

Hawaii Electric Light announces a temporary closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apaa Street and Post Office Road in Pahoa.Pahoa Road ClosureThe road will be partially closed on June 20-21, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and completely closed on June 22-24, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to relocate utility infrastructure and remove five utility pole protection measures that were installed in response to the June 27, 2014 lava flow.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. During complete closures, access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use the Pahoa Bypass Road as an alternate route during this period.

To ensure the safety of the crews, temporary power interruptions may be necessary while the work is being performed.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

HELCO Announces Partial Lane Closure Near Big Island Country Club

Hawaii Electric Light Company announces a partial lane closure on Highway 190 near the 20-mile marker in the area of Big Island Country Club and Puu Lani Ranch in Puu Anahulu. Work will begin on Monday, December 14, and is expected to be completed by Wednesday, December 23, weather permitting.

Helco new Logo 2

One lane will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to allow the company to relocate utility poles. Motorists are advised to expect delays of up to 10 minutes and encouraged to use alternate routes.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Power Continues to Get Restored to Storm Hit Big Island

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring electric service to customers affected by recent severe weather conditions. Crews worked through the night to restore service to approximately 3,300 customers island-wide. All transmission lines were repaired and are back in service.

Shaka For HELCOAbout 1,700 customers are currently without service. Today crews will be working in the following areas: Kaloko, Captain Cook, Holualoa, Kamuela, Hawi, Ahualoa, Honokaa, Kalopa, Paauilo, Nanawale, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Volcano, Upper Puna, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, and Kau.

The areas from Lindsey Road to Ahualoa suffered substantial damage. Customers in these areas are advised to prepare for an extended outage through Tuesday.

Hawaii Electric Light asks customers who have not yet reported their power outage to call its trouble line at 969-6666. 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.

The company urges the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.

HELCO Working to Restore Power to Big Island Residents Affected by Storm

Hawaii Electric Light crews have restored power to most customers in West Hawaii who lost electricity as a result of severe weather conditions affecting Hawaii Island Jan. 2 and 3. About 5,900 customers in the areas of North Hawai‘i and Hamakua, as well as spots in Hilo, lower and upper Puna, and Kau are currently experiencing power outages.

Omeka Street in Eden Roc

Omeka Street in Eden Roc

The windy conditions caused trees to fall into power lines and break lines and poles.

As power restoration efforts continue on Hawaii Island, Hawaii Electric Light would like to remind customers of important safety information.

  • Treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous.
  • 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, 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.

If the service line directly to your home is down, please call Hawaii Electric Light at 969-6666.

“All available crews are responding to reports of downed power lines, poles, trees on the lines, and related issues due to the severe weather experienced on Hawaii Island beginning Friday. Customers in multiple locations are impacted,” said Rhea Lee, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson. “Our first priority is to safely restore the backbone of our cross-island transmission lines to stabilize the power grid including the transmission tie to Hamakua Energy Partners, and then we will be able to work on restoring pocket outages around the island.

“Employees are in the field assessing damage to aide in restoring power faster. We know what a hardship it is for our customers to be out of power. We sincerely apologize and want to assure them we are doing everything we can to safely restore service as quickly as possible.”

For those who remain without power for an extended time, below are some food safety tips.

Refrigerated foods

  • Discard any perishable food that has been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers before you cook or eat it.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

For those who remain without power for an extended time, below are some food safety tips.

Frozen foods

  • Foods can stay frozen in the freezer for one to three days: one day for a half-full freezer, three days for a fully-stocked freezer.
  • Food that has been thawed completely and has not been held at or below 41 degrees should be cooked and eaten immediately. If your food still has ice crystals, it’s safe to refreeze.

As a general rule, “when it doubt, throw it out.”

If your power is out for an extended period of time, consider using dry ice if available. Please remember to use gloves or tongs when handling dry ice. Dry ice can be placed directly on top of your foods, since dry ice cools things under it.

Hawaii Electric Light asks customers in West Hawaii who have not yet reported their power outage to call its trouble line at 969-6666. Call wait times have increased due to the high volume of calls; customers’ patience is appreciated.

HELCO Response to Utility Pole on Fire in Lava Flow Path

No power interruptions due to the lava flow have been reported and utility poles along Apa’a Street currently remain in place, Hawaii Electric Light Company reports. However, it does appear that one of the poles is beginning to show the impacts of the lava’s heat.

HELCO Pole

“This morning, our technical experts found the pole that was surrounded by lava had sunk about ten feet and either steam or smoke was coming through the cinder piled around the pole. We suspect the pole is burning slowly at the ground level. We cooled the pole and protective barrier with water and will continue to monitor the condition of the pole. At this time, the pole remains standing and it does not appear to have sunk further,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee. “As a precautionary measure, we took the transmission line out of service while we evaluated the situation and cooled the pole. We put this line back in service this afternoon. However, we were able to keep power on for all customers through an alternative transmission line.”

Hawaii Electric Light is continuing with other contingency plans including:

  • Relocating a portion of its primary distribution line to the opposite side of Pahoa Village Road onto two taller poles installed under a joint pole agreement with Hawaiian Telcom. The taller poles were spaced farther apart than normal and allowed Hawaiian Telcom to raise their cables higher on the pole. Hawaii Electric Light was then able to cut the tops of the poles located on the opposite side of the road to reduce the height of the poles in the event lava causes them to fall, thereby minimizing the chance the poles would cause damage to the pole line across the street. The shorter poles contain a distribution line serving customers in the immediate area. Hawaii Electric Light will keep the power on for customers in this section of Pahoa Village Road for as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Crews are extending the distribution line on Government Beach Road between Hawaiian Paradise Park and Hawaiian Beaches to provide power to Hawaiian Beaches should existing lines located closer to Highway 130 become inoperable.
  • Hawaii Electric Light has relocated a large diesel generator to Puna and will be moving a second large diesel generator to the same location. These units will be able to provide power for the lower portion of Puna if this section is cut off from the rest of the island grid.

HELCO Attempts to Protect Power Poles From Lava Flow

Hawaii Electric Light continues to work closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense and other agencies to monitor and evaluate the lava flow and has put into action the plans that are appropriate for this stage, including:

  • Pole protection measures were installed on four poles along Apaa Street. The poles were partially encased with heat resistant and dispersive material to protect them from the heat generated by the lava.
  • A large diesel generator was relocated to the Kapoho area to provide an alternate source of generation should the flow isolate the area from the island-wide power grid.
  • The distribution line extension construction continues on Government Beach Road as an alternate means to provide power to Hawaiian Beaches should the existing power distribution lines become inoperable.
HELCO workers are experimenting on securing the telephone poles on Cemetery Road.  (Click to enlarge)

HELCO workers are experimenting on securing the poles on Cemetery Road. As of 2 PM, the flow was only 135 m (approximately 150 yards) from Cemetery Rd./Apaʻa St., which spans this photo. HELCO crews can be seen working to protect utility poles along the road. (Click to enlarge)

“The safety of our community and employees is our top priority,” said spokesperson Kristen Okinaka. “We’re working closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense and have taken the necessary steps to protect our facilities.”

Hawaii Electric Light advises customers who are planning to move and would like to discontinue or transfer their electric service to call (808) 969-6999. In the event evacuation is necessary before electric service has been removed, the company recommends customers:

  • Shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch;
  • Unplug or turn off electric equipment and appliances.

As there are new developments, updates will be provided to the media and public and also posted on Hawaii Electric Light’s website (www.hawaiielectriclight.com), Twitter (@HIElectricLight), and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HawaiianElectric) accounts.

HELCO Warns of New Scams After Hurricane Iselle

Hawaii Electric Light Company reminds customers to be aware of scams targeting Hawaii Island customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

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. The company also received reports of individuals wearing safety vests and climbing fences and gates to access homes.

Hawaii Electric Light 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. The company also will not access private property without first notifying the customer. Employees and approved contractors wear photo identification badges and their vehicles are clearly marked.

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.

Shaka For HELCO

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.

HELCO Update on Power Restoration in Puna

Electric service to approximately 1,500 customers was restored yesterday as crews continue to make progress on restoring power in the Puna District. Power has been restored in Hamakua, Ainaloa, Orchidland Estates, and portions of Upper Puna, Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Approximately 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 22 electrical line crews, 14 tree trimming crews, and 25 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles. An additional 40 crew members will be arriving, including crews from Maui Electric, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and contracted companies.

With the additional workforce, crews have identified some previously unreported outages. In addition, more customers have called in outage reports. Currently, an estimated 6,600 customers are without power. This estimate includes the recently reported outages.

“With all of the additional help we’ve received, our crews are making steady progress and also identifying new problems we need to address. Our customers are also helping by serving as our eyes on the ground. We thank them for their patience and understanding. This really is a collective effort by our entire community to recover from this storm,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Today, electrical line crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna. Crews also hope to make progress along the highway from Pahoa to Kalapana.

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

“We know there are customers in areas where they don’t see crews working. In many cases, we need to do additional work on the system away from their exact location in order to restore their power,” Pai said.

There are pockets throughout the Puna district 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.

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, 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.

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 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.

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.

HELCO Statement on Restoring Power to the Puna Areas of the Big Island

Hawaii Electric Light crews are continuing to work on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

An estimated 9,200 customers remain out of power in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Puna, Orchidland Estates, Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Kapoho, Kalapana, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, and Waipunahina. In addition, there are outages affecting smaller pockets of customers of customers in areas from Hamakua through Volcano. Customers who have not yet reported an outage in a location that is not listed should call 969-6666 to report the outage.

Iselle caused extensive damage to power lines and utility poles and crews are still assessing the damage. As a result, customers still without power should expect extended outages, which could last into next week and in some cases, particularly the Puna area, much longer.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Crews are focusing their efforts on repairing damage to the island’s transmission system, which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to providing service across the island. Much of the damage is in remote areas that are difficult to access. In many cases, crews have to cut their way through fallen trees to provide access for vehicles, equipment and personnel. The Puna District, which was especially hard hit by Iselle, is also quite large; the entire island of O‘ahu can fit within the Puna District.

To assist with the restoration process, Hawaiian Electric crews from O‘ahu and Maui will be traveling to Hawai‘i Island.

All storm-related outages on Oahu and Maui County were restored on Friday.

For those who will be without power for an extended time, below are some food safety tips.

Important safety information for those still without power:

  • When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. Do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets. Never use a generator inside a home, basement, or garage. Only use the generator outside, away from your home’s windows, doors, and vents. Connect a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord to the generator. Appliances can then be connected to the power cord. Make sure the outdoor-rated power cord is sufficient to handle the maximum electrical flow or electrical load from the generator. Check that the generator is properly grounded. Store reserve fuel in a safe place away from the generator or any other equipment that might ignite the fuel; use containers designed for fuel storage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized, or “live,” and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help and do not approach the injured person.

Refrigerated foods

  • Discard any perishable food that has been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers before you cook or eat it.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

Frozen foods

  • Foods can stay frozen in the freezer for one to three days: one day for a half-full freezer, three days for a fully stocked freezer
  • Food that has been thawed completely and has not been held at or below 41 degrees should be cooked and eaten immediately. If your food still has ice crystals, it’s safe to refreeze.

As a general rule, “when it doubt, throw it out.”

If your power is out for an extended period, consider using dry ice if available. Please remember to use gloves or tongs when handling dry ice. Dry ice can be placed directly on top of your foods, since dry ice cools things under it.

These tips have been adapted from the Hawai’i Department of Health’s “Food Safety – During and After a Power Outage” brochure and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Foodsafety.gov website. For specifics on when to save or throw out certain types of food, see pages 68 and 69 in our Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, which can be found on our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “Safety and Emergency” tab.

Damage Claims:

Customers who wish to submit damage claims can access a claim form at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “residential services” section.

Big Island Police Report Members of Public Confronting Electric Workers

The Hawaii Police Department has received information that members of the public have been confronting work crews from HELCO that are attempting to restore power to the lower Puna area.

HPDBadgeHELCO personnel, along with personnel from various County departments, are continuing to address the electrical power and road issues that were caused by Hurricane Iselle and will continue to do so until all roads are accessible and electricity has been restored to all island residents.

The police department asks residents to remain calm and be patient. Confrontations will only delay these personnel from accomplishing these goals. Mahalo

Hawaiian Electric Companies Introduce Ohana Energy Gift Program

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today introduced their new Ohana Energy Gift Program, a thoughtful and practical way for customers to give the gift of energy to their friends and family or to help others in need.

HELCO Logo

The program allows customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to make payments toward a designated recipient’s electric account. The recipient will receive an acknowledgement letter once the gift amount has been applied to his or her account.

“In Hawaii, we’re blessed to live in a very supportive and generous community. We created this program because over the years we’ve received many requests from our customers for this kind of service,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

Gift givers will receive a confirmation letter once the designated recipient’s account information has been verified and the gift amount has been applied. Ohana Energy Gifts are not tax deductible donations.

The gifts may be anonymous, or the gift giver may choose to also send a special acknowledgement card with a personalized message.

If a recipient is not designated, the energy gift will be given to individuals and families in need. Application forms may be downloaded from the Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light websites or picked up from any of the companies’ customer service centers.

For more information and downloadable application forms, please visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/gift, www.mauielectric.com/gift, or www.hawaiielectriclight.com/gift.

Lawsuit Charges State Of Hawaii With Breach Of Public Trust – Electric Monopoly

On Wednesday afternoon, September 25, Honolulu attorney, John Carroll, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, charging the State of Hawaii with breach of the public trust for its failure to address the State’s energy crisis to the satisfaction of its residents.

The defendants in the case are the State of Hawaii and Neil S. Abercrombie, sued in his capacity as the Governor of the State, responsible for the faithful execution of State law.

HELCO Lawsuit

Click to view lawsuit

Plan Boosts Big Island Geothermal

The electric utility on Hawaii island published Friday the first draft of a plan to add 50 megawatts of geothermal power to the island’s electric grid.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. will seek public comment on the draft to help guide renewable energy developers as they prepare their bids to supply geothermal power to HELCO. A final draft of the document is scheduled to be completed by January, and selection of the winning bidder or bidders is expected by July or August.

An existing 38-megawatt geothermal plant on Hawaii island already accounts for about 20 percent of the island’s peak electrical load. An additional 50 megawatts would push the amount of geothermal generation to nearly 50 percent of peak load.

Inside the Puna Geothermal Ventures plant in Puna, Hawaii

“This project combines our efforts to increase renewable resources on our island with a commitment to reduce costs for consumers,” HELCO President Jay Igna­­cio said.

HELCO customers pay among the highest electricity rates in the state.

HELCO plans to conduct a technical conference webi­nar next month to allow prospective bidders to ask questions and provide comments on the draft document, known as a request for proposals, or RFP.

The contracted price HELCO will pay developers for the geothermal energy will not be linked to the cost of oil, as is the case with many of the other renewable energy projects on Hawaii island.

“This is incredibly important for ratepayers on the Big Island,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz. “This will help stabilize prices. What people on the Big Island need is clean, affordable energy, and that’s the purpose of this RFP.”

One of the keys to making the plan work is engaging the community, he added. “We are working hard to have it done right, respecting the environment and the culture,” Schatz said.

Puna Geothermal Plant

Bringing another 50 megawatts of geothermal power online will pave the way for the eventual retirement of fossil fuel-burning electrical generators on Hawaii island, he said.

More than 40 percent of the electricity consumed on Hawaii island is generated from renewable resources, the highest percentage of any island in the state.

Besides geothermal, Hawaii island has hydroelectric, wind and distributed solar power generation.