Electric service has been restored to approximately 300 customers in Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots who have been without power after Tropical Storm Iselle hit the Big Island nearly two weeks ago, according to Hawai'i Electric Light.
As of 11:45 a.m. Thursday, more than 99 percent of Big Island customers now have power.
An estimated 800 customers remain without power. Nearly all of these customers are in Nanawale Estates, where electrical line crews are focusing their efforts and expect to make more progress on Thursday.
The storm caused extensive damage in that area, with many streets impacted by fallen trees, downed power lines and damaged utility poles. Tree-trimming and construction crews have been working in those areas to clear roads and dig holes for poles, so electrical line crews can move in and work safely and efficiently.
In the interests of safety, crews will complete repairs before restoring power to the subdivision. Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.
"We understand how hard it’s been for these customers who have been without power for such a long time. We assure them that we we’re committed to restoring service to all of our customers," said Darren Pai, Hawai'i Electric Light spokesman.
Customers in other areas who are still without power should report their outage by calling 969-6666.
Utility crews are working with the county and other agencies to clean up storm debris and damaged utility equipment. As a safety precaution, customers are reminded not to touch or move any fallen poles, lines or other utility equipment.
Electrical line crews are also continuing to work on smaller outages in the following areas: Hawaiian Paradise Park, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna Gardens. In addition, tree-trimming and hole-digging crews are continuing to work in Hawaiian Acres, Lanipuna Gardens, Mauna Loa Estates, Nanawale, Pohoiki Road, and Volcano.
Although crews have made good progress, it could still take another two weeks – and in some cases, even longer – to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage. Actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.
Customer Information Center in Puna
Hawai'i Electric Light's Customer Information Center is at the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center will close after Friday, Aug. 22. After the center closes, customers may call 969-6666 for status updates.
Until then, company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairs. Free Wi-Fi access and a charging station will also be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there.
Hawai'i Electric Light urges the public to remember these important safety tips:
• Do not approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, do not approach them and call 911 for assistance.
• Use generators outdoors and away from flammable materials. Generators connected directly to your home may feed excess electricity back into power lines, creating a public safety hazard. Plug appliances directly into your generator, using extension cords.
• Unplug unnecessary and sensitive electronic equipment. Use high-quality surge suppressors for electric appliances that remain plugged in.
• Use batteries to power flashlights and lanterns. Do not use candles or other flammable fuel sources, as they are fire hazards.
• Be aware of trees and utility poles that were weakened by storm winds and have the potential for falling.
• Anyone who is without power and who is dependent on electric-powered life support medical equipment should make arrangements to go to an alternate location with power. They should bring their medical equipment and medications with them. They should also stay in contact with their medical equipment supplier for any special equipment needs.