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Nearly 20,000 Big Island customers without power, HELCO says

August 8, 2014 - 11:18am

Hawaii Island residents should be prepared for power interruptions this morning, while Hawaii Electric Light Co. deals with a power generation shortfall.

But HELCO isn’t planning for rolling brownouts, Rhea Lee, administration manager, said.

“We have some critical transmission lines that are out,” Lee said, adding that lines from Hamakua Energy and Puna Geothermal Ventures were affected by Hurricane Iselle, meaning HELCO cannot take energy from those plants.

At some point, some circuits may be turned off for repairs, which would affect some customers, Lee said.

A Hawaii County Civil Defense message earlier this morning indicated there would be rotating power interruptions.

Until the lines are repaired, Lee said HELCO was asking all consumers to conserve power use as much as possible.

At 11 a.m., About 19,800 customers in parts of Puna, Hamakua and Ka‘u were without power.

HELCO crews were working in the affected areas even as the winds blew and rain came down, Lee said.

“They were in there with chain saws cutting their way through,” she said, adding that the crews would get a path cleared, turn around and see newly fallen trees covering the road. “It was a bit spooky out there last night.”

Civil Defense officials said there were many downed power lines across the island, and reminded residents not to approach any downed line, and to always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous. Residents should not attempt to clear downed lines or poles because those efforts are dangerous and may delay repairs. Downed lines may be reported to HELCO at 969-6666. If possible, HELCO asks that all reports include a nearby pole number or a street address.

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