Hawaiian Electric warns of extended outages as Maui fires rage

Hawaiian Electric warns of extended outages as Maui fires rage
Image courtesy Hawaiian Electric

Hawaii electric services company Hawaiian Electric has issued a warning for West Maui customers without power to prepare for extended outages that could last several weeks in certain areas, as a result of wildfires in the region.

The company said on Thursday that approximately 12,400 customers in West Maui have been without power due to the effects of the wildfires and high winds on the grid system.

Although restoration efforts have been in place alongside firefighting efforts, such as repairing and replacing downed poles, more damage assessments and efforts will be needed as the fires’ toll continues to rise.

Have you read:
Rome’s grid sizzles under Cerberus
Biggest US grid operator issues heat alert

“Our main focus is maintaining the safety of our communities, customers and workforce and prioritising power restoration to areas that our crews can safely access at this time,” said Shayna Decker, Hawaiian Electric spokesperson.

“We recognise the gravity and hardship of having prolonged outages during these challenging times and we are starting damage assessments to determine restorations in West Maui areas as they become safe and accessible.”

Additional crews and resources from Oahu, Hawaii Island and Lanai have been deployed to assist with response efforts, and the company’s incident management team is coordinating with Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency and other emergency response organisations.

As of Thursday, 55 fatalities have been confirmed from the fire.

Hawaiian Electric’s extended outages warning came as US President Joe Biden approved a Hawaiian Disaster Declaration, making federal funding available to affected individuals.

Hawaiian Electric is the parent company of Maui Electric Company and serves 95% of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents on the islands of Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, Lanai and Molokai.