Tuesday, November 24, 2015         

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Ala Moana Center expected to be fully powered by today

By Star-Advertiser staff


Hawaiian Electric Co. expects to have Ala Moana Center restored to its normal electrical configuration when stores open today—one of the most critical shopping days for retailers.

Automatic backups will be in place to prevent further blackouts like those that left several stores at the mall without power last week.

"People can expect that the shopping center will be fully powered (today)," said HECO spokesman Darren Pai. "We'll have all automatic backup circuits available."

Short-circuits blacked out several stores at the center four times last week after a fire destroyed a Makaloa Street transformer that provides power to parts of the shopping center.

The fire also damaged a switch gear that allows electricity to be quickly transferred when there are electrical outages.

The electrical fire last Sunday left part of the mall without power until repair crews could switch over to a backup electrical system. Over the next few days, there were three more short-circuits, possibly because of the demands on the backup system, HECO said.

Unlike the normal configuration, the backup system didn't have automatic backups, which led to further blackouts when there was a short-circuit.

"That was kind of a recurring problem," Pai said.

Repair crews worked yesterday to test the new transformer installed on Makaloa Street on Friday.

Pai said last night that the testing was done and a last bit of switching to the new transformer was scheduled to be done overnight in coordination with maintenance at the shopping center.

"When we finish everything, it will all be back to normal," he said. "All the circuits will have their normal backups."

Pai added: "We appreciate the customers' patience throughout this time. It's been difficult for them."

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