Maui News

Maui Electric Company Prepares for Hurricane Season

May 30, 2019, 6:08 AM HST
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Maui Electric has been working to build a more resilient island grid ahead of the 2019 Central Pacific hurricane season, which begins June 1, 2019.

Forecasts say up to eight tropical cyclones could develop this season, underscoring the need for customers to have emergency plans in place.

Maui Electric’s ongoing efforts include:

  • Upgrades to utility poles to withstand higher wind gusts.
  • Planned pilot installation of insulated power lines to reduce outages caused by falling trees and branches on conductors in forested areas of Upcountry Maui and East Moloka‘i.
  • Planned installation of Trip-Savers, a new device on power lines that helps isolate and protect the electrical system during outages, in parts of Upcountry Maui.

Statewide, Hawaiian Electric Companies have also been enacting strategies to build more resilient island grids.

Company representatives say Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light work year-round to strengthen the electric grids so that they are better able to withstand powerful storms. Much of that work centers around upgrading and reinforcing poles, lines and equipment and clearing vegetation.

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Nearly $17 million was spent in 2018 to clear trees and vegetation from around power lines and equipment, resulting in fewer and briefer outages during storms.

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Residents should develop their own emergency plans and consider these tips:

  • Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. Be prepared to monitor storm-related communications issued over emergency broadcast radio stations.
  • Store enough water, non-perishable food, medicine, and personal hygiene supplies for your family members and pets to last at least 14 days.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric appliances and equipment during a storm or a power outage. When power comes back and is stable, plug in the equipment one at a time.
  • Shut off your electricity at the main breaker or switch if you need to evacuate.
  • Consider having a backup generator if you are dependent on an electrically-powered life support system. Or, make plans to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available. Be prepared to take your medical equipment and medications with you.
  • If your business or residence is equipped with a backup generator, learn how to properly operate the device to avoid causing damage or injury.
  • Prepare a list of emergency contacts that includes phone numbers for insurance agents, vendors, physicians or any other important individuals.
  • If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Stay away from downed power lines – at least 30 feet or more.
  • For power outage updates, follow Maui Electric on Twitter @MauiElectric or sign up for text or email notifications at www.mauielectric.com.

One of the best ways to weather storms is to be prepared. Residents can refer to the companies’ Handbook for Emergency Preparedness available at https://www.mauielectric.com/prepare.

Printed copies of the handbook are available at Maui Electric’s business offices in Kahului and Moloka‘i and at the Maui County public libraries. You may also call (808) 871-2304 to request copies while supplies last.

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