Hurricane Prompts Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Emergency Response

August 22, 2018, 1:23 PM HST · Updated August 22, 1:23 PM
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As Hurricane Lane heads closer to the islands, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are activating their emergency response plans and readying crews to respond where needed.

Maui Electric Company. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaiʻi Electric Light emergency responders are going through pre-storm checklists to ensure critical preparations are being made. Here is what the companies are doing ahead of Hurricane Lane:

  • All three companies are taking inventory of fuel supply, checking generators, and ensuring that all equipment inside and outside of their facilities are secure.
  • Together the companies have more than 500 contractors in place if needed. For instance, Hawai‘i Electric Light has been in contact with and secured resources from contractors around Hawai‘i Island in advance for various services such as tree trimming, pole hole digging, electrical, and construction workers.
  • On Maui, Maui Electric is already mobilizing employees to remote areas. Hawaiian Electric crews are being mobilized to Molokaʻi to provide support.

The companies are closely monitoring Hurricane Lane’s movement in order to move crews and equipment to areas most likely to be affected. Forecasts show that wind and heavy rain could reach Hawaiʻi Island tonight. Storm surges are anticipated as well. Impacts to Maui County are expected as early as Wednesday, with Oʻahu likely to see storm conditions Thursday.

“The Hawaiian Electric Companies will make every effort to keep the power on but the electric grids are not hurricane-proof,” said Ron Cox, senior vice president of operations. “There will be outages if the islands are hit by powerful winds, torrential rain, and flooding. Once the storm has passed and it is safe for our crews to begin restoration, we will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power.”

  • The Hawaiian Electric Companies are working with their response partners, including civil defense agencies, FEMA and other government entities.
  • The companies are in contact with the Western Regional Mutual Assistance Group, which is comprised of dozens of utilities ready to provide utility workers and equipment as needed. Other utility industry organizations such as the Edison Electric Institute also are on standby to help in areas such as communications, if needed.
  • The companies have invested more than $1.5 billion over the past seven years to upgrade and reinforce poles, lines and equipment, which will help the utilities recover quicker after a storm.
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As the storm approaches, customers should review family and business emergency plans, ensure they have supplies they need on hand and keep close watch on the development of the storm system.

More electrical safety and preparation tips are available in the companies’ Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, available in five languages, at www.mauielectric.com/prepare

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