Hawaii Electric Light Co. said it restored service to about 1,500 customers Tuesday, but barely made a dent in the overall number of those without power after more people reported being in the dark.
The company said Wednesday that about 6,600 customers are without power. On Tuesday, HELCO officials said about 6,800 customers, or 8 percent of the island, were without power.
The company said crews identified previously unreported outages and more affected customers have come forward, which explains why the overall number only fell by 200.
About 200 workers are working on restoring power, including 22 electrical line crews, 14 tree-trimming crews, and 25 construction crews digging holes for utility poles, company officials said. Also, 40 more crew members will be arriving, including from Maui Electric, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and contracted companies, the said.
"With all of the additional help we’ve received, our crews are making steady progress and also identifying new problems we need to address. Our customers are also helping by serving as our eyes on the ground. We thank them for their patience and understanding. This really is a collective effort by our entire community to recover from this storm," said Darren Pai, Helco spokesman.
The company expects to make progress Wednesday in Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, portions of Upper Puna, and along the highway from Pahoa to Kalapana.
Still, the company warns, that there are pockets throughout Puna where the damage is so severe that customers should be prepared for an extended outage. It could take up to three weeks to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage, and in some cases even longer, Helco said.
The company has a customer information center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches where customers can ask questions and charge electrical devices. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.