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Ask the Mayor: Can You Give Info About MECO Substation Off Kuihelani Hwy?

July 17, 2017, 7:41 AM HST (Updated July 17, 2017, 7:47 AM) · 1 Comment
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Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor,

Q: What will the design of the new MECO substation off Kuihelani Highway entail?

A: Maui Electric Co. is not a county utility, but we checked with MECO about its new, modernized substation, which is being built at the corner of Kuihelani Highway and Maui Lani Parkway in support of Central Maui’s continued growth and development.

Planned for the most optimal site to deliver power to Central Maui, the Kuihelani Substation will be a permanent part of our island’s electrical grid to ensure area residents, businesses and schools continue to receive reliable power.

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Maui Electric says that the substation is being built in anticipation of more than 30 known developing projects, including new subdivisions, the Kahului Airport Rental Car Facility, the Maui Business Park and the Waiale Water Treatment Facility.

MECO says it is pleased to be working with the Central Maui community as several of the substation’s design items are based on feedback from area residents and businesses, including its new, compact design and underground power lines across Kuihelani Highway.

Of the three acres purchased for this project, the one-acre substation will be approximately 35 feet from the Kuihelani Highway.

The substation design is considered “low-profile” —that is, built compactly with equipment that will not stand as tall as a “high-profile” substation like the one located on Dairy Road.

In addition to the substation’s underground electrical lines across Kuihelani Highway, in the former cane fields, six poles and about 500 feet of overhead lines will connect the substation to the existing transmission line.

Landscaping that addresses security needs and aesthetics is currently being determined.

Approved by the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission in March 2016, the new substation will also provide the capability to integrate more renewable energy resources to the grid through improved monitoring and state-of-the-art communications equipment.

MECO says that should a circuit experience a fault, or an abnormal amount of electric current, this substation gives Maui Electric the ability to isolate a problem to only portions of the system and prevent more widespread outages.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by end of this year. During construction, minimal traffic impacts and no extended interruptions to electrical service are currently expected.

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