East Hawaii News

Hawai’i Electric Light: Power Generation Reserves ‘Tight’

April 18, 2016, 4:22 PM HST
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Hawai'i Electric Light's Hilo office on Kilauea Avenue. File photo by Dave Smith.

Hawai’i Electric Light’s Hilo office on Kilauea Avenue. File photo by Dave Smith.

Two trips last week at the 60 MW Hamakua Energy Partners power plant have left power generation reserves “tight,” according to Hawai’i Electric Light.

The HEP plant will remain out of service through Friday and the generation reserves are narrow, the company said in a Monday afternoon notice.

Hawai’i Electric Light officials say the utility company is running all of its available firm generating units as efforts are made to return the Hill 6 stream plant early from its annual overhaul. The plant is anticipated to be returned to working order on Tuesday.

“Our dedicated employees have been working long hours to meet the electricity needs of the community during this fluid situation. With the variable wind and hydro resources, we expect to have enough generation to meet the peak use period this week. However, we don’t have additional generation resources if there are unexpected technical problems on one of the larger units on our system,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, Hawai‘i Electric Light spokeswoman. “We want to assure the community that we’re doing everything we can to provide sufficient generation.”

The company’s Puna steam unit, which was on standby after being taken out of regular service in 2014, has also been put back into service. The unit is used for contingency purposes.

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“While we currently expect to have enough generation this week, we want to share this information with our customers to help them plan ahead just in case,” Lee-Moku said. In the event we have a sudden loss of generation, we may need to ask customers to conserve electricity use during the evening peak hours between 6 to 8 p.m. We will give as much notice as possible though conditions can change suddenly.”

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