HELCO to Energize Long-Dormant Hilo Street Lights
June 5, 2021, 3:15 PM HST
* Updated June 5, 2:27 PM
Multiple stretches of road on the Big Island are darker than they have to be, which has some community members concerned about pedestrian safety come nightfall.
The areas in question are along Kino´ole Street in Hilo, between Haihai Street and Kawailani Street. The Hawai´i County Department of Public Works (DPW) said there are a total of 20 street lights along the approximately 3,700-foot run of road, seven of which were added to existing Hawaiian Electric (HELCO) poles. Those seven have yet to be fed power.
DPW explained that there is a distinction between street lights that are “out” and those that have yet to be turned on. In this case, the latter applies.
“The lights are being maintained by (the county), but HELCO is the only entity authorized to energize new street lights,” DPW spokesperson Sherise Kanae-Kane wrote in an email to Big Island Now (BIN). “Conditions are no different now than prior to the addition of the new, yet-to-be-energized street lights.”
She added that the department requested HELCO energize three of the seven lights, located between Kawailani Street and Palai Street, on Aug. 5, 2020. The request to energize the other four street lamps, located between Haihai Street and Palai Street, was made on Jan. 14, 2021.
“No money is required,” Kanae-Kane said. “HELCO has a backlog of work and we are waiting for them. “
Kristen Okinaka, a spokesperson for HELCO, told BIN Friday that the lights will be energized in short order. She added that there are no other large groupings of street lights on the Big Island installed but waiting to be turned on.
“The lights will be energized next week,” Okinaka wrote in an email. “This is an isolated incident.”
Anyone with concerns about non-working or damaged street lights may contact the DPW Traffic Division at 808-961-8591 or by email at [email protected].