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Hawai‘i Electric Light Responds to Darby Outages

July 23, 2016, 9:32 PM HST
* Updated July 23, 9:35 PM
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A Hawai‘i Electric Light crew works to clear a fallen albizia tree from power lines in Pohoiki. Courtesy photo.

A Hawai‘i Electric Light crew works to clear a fallen albizia tree from power lines in Pohoiki. Courtesy photo.

Hawai‘i Electric Light has been responding to outages due to high winds from Tropical Storm Darby.

The majority of outages occurred on the east and north sides of the island and were caused primarily by fallen trees, tree branches and tree bark contacting power lines.

Customers in various parts of Puna, Hāmākua and Kohala experienced power outages starting Friday evening.

Currently, about 1,000 customers in the lower Puna District and a few customers in Hāmākua, upper Puna and Kona are without power.

Crews are working through the night to make repairs and safely restore electric service.

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Customers in other areas who are experiencing an outage should call the Trouble Desk at 969-6666.

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“Our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible but the abundance of trees near lines creates hazards and challenges for our crews,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, public information officer. “On Friday afternoon an albizia tree brought down power lines in Pohoiki. After the fallen tree was cleared, crews worked on Saturday to repair the lines. Just as they were preparing to re-energize the lines, another tree fell, bringing the lines down again.”

Trees continue to be the number one cause of outages on Hawai‘i Island.

As part of Hawai‘i Electric Light’s vegetation management program, the company proactively trims and removes trees and other vegetation islandwide throughout the year.

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Since 2014, it has spent an estimated $14 million and cleared nearly 94,000 trees, 31,000 of which were albizia. However, there is still more work to do to reduce the threat of trees to utility infrastructure and our roadways.

“We thank the community for their patience,” said Lee-Moku. “We’d also like to remind everyone that any downed power line can be energized and dangerous. Do not approach or touch a downed line.”

To report an outage, a low-hanging or downed power line, call 969-6666.

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