Ask the Mayor: Does the Power Plant Have Backup Generators?

February 23, 2015, 11:00 AM HST · Updated March 2, 7:17 AM
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MECO workers file photo by Wendy Osher.

MECO workers file photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

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Q: I read that a recent wastewater spill in Waiehu was blamed on a power outage. What I’m wondering is, don’t the plants have backup generators? And if the generator requires a manual turn-on that didn’t occur, was the overflow preventable if staff were available or a backup generator that should kick in when the power goes out?

A: Very good question. Ordinarily during MECO power outages, a transfer switch automatically takes power from the backup generator to prevent a disruption of service. A review of the spill report indicates there was a power surge just before the power went off, which then damaged the transfer switch and voltage regulator for the backup generator. Our Deptartment of Environmental Management is in the process of replacing the damaged components.

Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email to [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or mail to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawai‘i 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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