HECO crews work on weather-related power outages across Oahu

UPDATE: According to Hawaiian Electric’s Twitter account, as of 12:19 p.m., all major outages on Oahu were restored overnight.

Hawaiian Electric crews continued to work on restoring power outages caused by high winds and stormy weather over the weekend.

“We’ve seen downed trees. We’ve seen debris and vegetation blown into the power lines. A lot of really difficult conditions out there that have caused these outages,” said Darren Pai, HECO spokesperson.

Crews have been working nonstop. In some areas, they’re facing difficulties.

“In order to work on these outages, we’ve literally had to cut trails through some very dense vegetation in some places. For example, in Maunawili, our crews really have to go off the road. In that area, we’ve got some damaged lines and downed poles in an area where there’s a lot of albezia trees that have come down,” said Pai.

On Saturday, the city briefly closed two beach parks due to health and safety reasons. The bathrooms at Maunalua Bay and Sandy Beach were without power and deemed inoperable. Honolulu police officers were also directing traffic at intersections in Kailua because the traffic lights were out.

So when can residents expect the power to be restored?

“We’re hoping to get it back as quickly as possible. We’d like to give some people assurance about when, but really it depends on the conditions we encounter in the field. We just want people to know we’re working as quickly as we can to make sure we can do the job safely,” said Pai. “We know that it’s Valentine’s Day. A lot of people have plans. We really thank them for their understanding and their patience.”

Anyone without electricity should call 1-855-304-1212 to report their outage. Call volumes may be high, so the utility is asking its customers to be patient.

In addition, HECO urges the public to follow these safety tips:

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Should you need to evacuate, take emergency supplies and remember to shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch.
  • Make plans in advance to go to a safe location where electricity will be available. If someone in your home depends on an electrically powered life support system and you don’t have a backup generator. Some shelters are designed for people with health needs — just remember to take your own medical equipment and medications.
  • 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.
  • If you have a rooftop photovoltaic system, consult with your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your solar system. As a safety precaution, most photovoltaic systems are designed to safely shut down during outages. PV systems typically have monitoring systems which allow owners to check on the status of their system.
  • If you become trapped in an elevator during a power outage, relax and stay calm until help arrives. Use elevator emergency communication systems to report where you are and who is with you. Do not try to force open elevator doors. Never try to exit a stalled elevator car. Always wait for trained and qualified emergency personnel.

If you can safely take photographs or video of damage done by the windy weather, you can send them to KHON2 News using our ReportIt feature.

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