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Maui Electric to Discuss Upgrade to Power Grid

July 24, 2017, 10:29 AM HST · Updated July 24, 12:45 PM
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Maui Electric Company will host a community meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium in Wailuku to solicit input and share information on the company’s draft plan to modernize the power grids on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

The draft Grid Modernization Strategy filed with the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission in June describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric, and Hawai‘i Electric Light over the next six years.

The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources like private rooftop solar, increase reliability and give customers new choices to control their energy use.

Maui Electric Company Central Maui Transmission and Distribution Project. Image: Munekiyo Hiraga

Highlights of this near-term work include:

· Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, such as customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or who seek usage data;

· Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption;

· Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;

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· Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;

· Enhanced outage management and notification technology

Maui Electric’s Māʻalaea Generating Plant. PC: Kevin J Olson.

Public opinion gathered from this meeting and others held on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island will be included in the final plan to be submitted to the PUC at the end of August.

The draft plan and related documents are available at https://mauielectric.com/gridmod. Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9, 2017.

The Aug. 2 meeting includes an open house with company representatives at the Cameron Center at 5 p.m. An overview of the plan will be presented, followed by a question and answer session from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

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