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Hawaiian Electric: Hurricane Season Is Here — Are You Prepared?

June 1, 2022, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated June 1, 11:03 AM
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Hurricane season for the Central Pacific starts today and runs through the end of November. Hawaiian Electric wants customers to be prepared.

To prepare for hurricane season, Hawaiian Electric customers can refer to the company’s Handbook for Emergency Preparedness. Digital copies of the handbook and a keiki-friendly booklet are available online.

Hawaiian Electric encourages customers to develop their own emergency plans and consider the following tips:

  • Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns and batteries. Be prepared to monitor communications via emergency broadcast radio stations.
  • Store enough water, non-perishable food, medicine and personal hygiene supplies for family members and pets to last at least 14 days.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric appliances and equipment during a storm or power outage. When power comes back and is stable, plug in the equipment one at a time.
  • Shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch if evacuation is necessary.
  • Consider having a back-up generator if necessary for a life support systems or make plans to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available. Be prepared to take medical equipment and medications.
  • Businesses and residences equipped with back-up generators should know how to properly operate the device to avoid damage or injury.
  • Prepare a list of emergency contacts including phone numbers for insurance agents, vendors, physicians or any other important people and services.
  • Assume a downed power line is energized and dangerous. Stay away — at least 30 feet or more.

Forecasters are predicting 2-4 tropical cyclones for the Central Pacific this year, including tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes, a below average outlook for the season. A normal season sees 4-5, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The outlook, however, does not predict whether or how many of these systems will directly affect the state.

Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

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Hawaiian Electric crews work all year to reinforce electric grids throughout the islands to better withstand the impacts of powerful storms. The utility company focuses efforts on building resilience, including reinforcing poles, lines and other equipment.

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Hawaiian Electric’s work to boost resilience includes equipment upgrades as well as longer-term planning efforts that will benefit customers well into the future. An example on the Big Island is development of a microgrid, supported by a battery storage system, to improve reliability and resilience in North Kohala. The microgrid allows Hawaiian Electric to serve the area while the existing radial sub-transmission line is rebuilt and when it is affected by events such as storms, overnight maintenance or upgrade work.

The utility also spent $18.5 million in 2021 to clear trees and vegetation from around power lines and equipment, resulting in fewer and briefer outages during storms.

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