Hawai'i State News

Lawmakers urge investigation, following power blackouts on Big Island and O‘ahu

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In light of multiple power outages on the Big Island and O‘ahu this past weekend, three state senators sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission expressing concern about the recent power blackouts.

The letter – penned by Sen. Glenn Wakai, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs; Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection; and Sen. Lynn DeCoite, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development and Tourism – highlighted the Public Utilities Commission’s investigatory powers under state law, and requested the commission conduct investigations.

“On Sunday night, some 13,000 O‘ahu utility customers were without power for several hours and some continue to be without power … At the same time 21,500 customers on Hawai‘i Island experienced an outage, and HECO [Hawaiian Electric Company] issued another alert to expect more,” the letter sent Tuesday reads.

“The PUC [Public Utilities Commission] has the statutory responsibility to regulate Hawaiian Electric proactively in the public interest and can use its investigatory powers … to ensure that electric utility services are delivered in a safe and reliable manner,” the letter continues. “The lack of reliability due to insufficient energy generation, HECO’s aging equipment, unreliable oil-fired power generation, and immediate and long term solutions should be investigated.”


On Monday, Hawaiian Electric urged residential and business customers on the Big Island to continue to reduce their electricity use to prevent the need for brief rolling outages.

For the past several weeks, Hawaiian Electric has been asking customers to conserve electricity due to the unavailability of several large generators.


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