Power was finally restored Tuesday, Jan. 24, following a days-long outage that affected all 1,700 customers on Lanai.
Maui Electric crews restored power to 1,575 customers in Lanai City at around 12:43 a.m. They finished repairs and restored the remaining 125 customers in the Manele area as of 2:48 p.m.
Residents had been without power since strong winds toppled 19 power poles overnight Saturday, Jan. 21.
Heavy winds packed quite a punch as some of the poles were snapped in half, with others leaning and wires dangling.
All 45-to-50-foot tall poles needed to be replaced and reset, and then about a mile’s worth of power lines had to be restrung along Kaumalapau Highway to Miki Basin and cross-country to Manele Bay.
“With the help from partners like Pulama Lanai and the support of the Lanai community, our crews worked as quickly as possible to restore power after Saturday’s windstorm wreaked havoc on the island’s electrical system,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric. “Crews made great progress this morning as they finished up the last of the repairs to restore our remaining Manele area customers. A sincere mahalo to the Lanai community for their patience and understanding.”
Additional Maui Electric crews were flown in by helicopter to help repair the poles, which carry two main feeders that provide power to Lanai.
The outage prompted the Department of Education to close Lanai High School and Elementary School Monday.
We’re told grocery stores allowed small groups of residents in shifts to get what they need.
“Everything up in town is closed, all the restaurants, gas stations, everything is closed,” said Lanai resident Kimmy Brooke.
“Some people have waited as long as two hours or more just to pick up things that they need. Fortunately for us, our water supply is intact,” said Lanai resident Alberta Dejetley.
All flights at the Lanai Airport were canceled Saturday night due to the high winds. The airport and the hospital operated with backup generators.
Some residents even stayed with family on neighbor islands.
“We decided to leave Lanai and come over here to get power,” said Lanai resident Richard Brooke who arrived on Oahu on Sunday. “Those of us who had a place to go are probably going and everyone else is just gonna hunker down and read books.”
Hawaiian Telcom lines were down as well, though all customers were restored Sunday night.
As for the other islands, Hawaiian Electric reported about 100,000 customers on Oahu lost service at some point over a 24-hour period.
About 7,500 Hawaii Island customers lost power as well, with the biggest pocket in the Waimea-Kawaihae area. Residents on Molokai and Maui also reported power outages during the blustery weekend.