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Hawaiian Electric urges customers to prepare for impacts from heavy rains, winds

Release from Hawaiian Electric, 2/1/2024 

HONOLULU, Feb. 1, 2024 – Hawaiian Electric urges customers to prepare for heavy rains and winds impacting Oahu, Maui County, Hawaii island on Friday and Saturday.

During severe weather, strong winds can blow trees or debris into power lines, causing outages and damaging electrical equipment. Falling trees can hit utility poles or overhead lines, knocking lines down or causing poles to lean, which may result in outages. Heavy rains can also lead to flooding of underground cables or other equipment.

“We take the threat of severe weather seriously and we want to reassure our customers that we're ready to respond,” said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesman. “We ask that they check their preparations at their homes and businesses in case they experience any outages or other emergencies.”

Due to our enhanced wildfire safety protocols, outages in areas designated by the state as at-risk for wildfires may experience longer outages. It may be necessary to conduct visual or aerial inspections to ensure that power may be safely restored, a process that can be time consuming, especially in rural or mountainous areas. For more information, please visit: https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/safety-and-outages/wildfire-safety.

If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Stay at least 30 feet – 3 car lengths – or more away from all power lines. Warn others to stay away. Call Hawaiian Electric's Trouble Line at the numbers listed below or for emergency assistance call 911.

How we restore power following severe weather

  • When power goes out, we follow an overall plan that calls for restoring service to the largest number of customers safely and as quickly as possible.
  • We start by repairing any damage to our power plants and the power lines that carry electricity from our plants to the local substations.
  • We prioritize restoring power to critical facilities such as hospitals, the Board of Water Supply pumping sites, wastewater plants, military facilities, and the airports.
  • At the same time, we work to return service to the largest number of customers in the shortest amount of time.
  • From here, we repair the infrastructure serving smaller groups and neighborhoods, converging on the hardest hit areas until every customer’s power is restored.

What you can do

Safety is our priority. We urge customers to make it their top priority, too:

  • Check emergency supplies and keep a battery-operated radio on hand with a fresh supply of batteries.
  • Record your Hawaiian Electric account in a location that will be readily available. By knowing your account number, you will be able to quickly access your account online at hawaiianelectric.com, using your computer or mobile device. Also have our Trouble Line numbers handy, in the event that you need to call us.

Oahu: 1-855-304-1212
Hawaii: 808-969-6666
Maui: 808-871-7777
Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461 (toll free)

For updates and alerts, follow Hawaiian Electric on Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiianElectric), X (formerly Twitter) Oahu: twitter.com/hwnelectric; Maui County: https://twitter.com/MauiElectric; Hawaii Island: https://twitter.com/HIElectricLight or via our free mobile app (available on Apple App and Google Play stores).

If someone in your home is dependent on electrically powered, life-sustaining medical equipment, check backup power supplies. Plan where to go should the need for evacuation occurs. If you need to go to the hospital or other emergency shelter, remember to take your medical equipment and medications with you to the facility.

If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure it is placed in a well-ventilated area outside the home, and be sure to carefully follow all instructions in the manufacturer's manual.

If you experience an outage, turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment, especially sensitive electronics. In the event of an outage, this will prevent damage to the equipment from surges when power is restored.

If you have a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system, consult with your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your solar system. Most rooftop PV systems are designed to safely shut down during outages. This is a safety precaution to prevent reverse power flow into power lines while utility crews are working on restoration. PV systems typically have monitoring systems that allow owners to check on the status of their systems. For safety tips, visit hawaiianelectric.com/rooftopsolarsafety.

If you are cooking when an outage occurs, remember to turn off the stove, oven, or other appliances, and remove all items such as pots and pans from the burners.

Visit hawaiianelectric.com/stormcenter for more preparation and safety tips.

---30---

As Explained: Oahu is slated to see more power outages — that last longer. Here’s why

Hawaiian Electric says to prepare for outages ahead of severe weather | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

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