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Power plant goes down causing widespread Oahu outage

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 04:08 p.m. HST, Jan 05, 2012


Hawaiian Electric officials are still trying to determine what caused three power generating units to shut down this morning, resulting in the loss of electricity for about 45,000 customers around Oahu.

The outage affected Waipahu, portions of town, Leeward and Windward Oahu, Aina Haina and Hawaii Kai.

The company said it isn't clear which of the system's three generating units tripped offline first: A 180-megawatt plant in Campbell Industrial Park; its 92-megawatt unit at Kahe; or and Waiau's 92-megawatt facility.

"We are conducting an investigation to determine the cause," said Peter Rosegg, Hawaiian Electric spokesman. 

Electricity was turned off to some customers briefly as a protective measure to restore the balance of power supply and demand on the Oahu grid and prevent a possibly more widespread or longer outage, HECO said in a written statement.

Hawaiian Electric said it quickly brought additional generators on-line to restore the balance, and system operators were able to begin restoring customers within 25 minutes. Almost all customers had service restored by 10 a.m., with small remaining pockets of customers restored within the hour

The shut down knocked out traffic lights throughout the island, slowing traffic at the end of the morning commute.

Jan Miller, Hawaiian Electric spokeswoman, said one of its plants stopped generating power at 8:50 a.m., triggering the shutdown in the other two plants as a safety mechanism tried to balance the load on the electrical distribution grid.

Hawaiian Electric officials began restoring power at 9:15 a.m. to Mililani and Waipahu first, followed by the other parts of the system. Full electrical power was restored to Hawaii Kai by 9:45 a.m..

"We sincerely apologize for the disruption to our customers," said Lynne Unemori, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate relations. "Our employees worked to safely restore power as quickly as possible and we appreciate our customers' patience and understanding."

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Poipounder808 wrote:
Good to know that all that money we pay goes toward a reliable system....not.
on January 5,2012 | 09:29AM
Robert109 wrote:
HECO should hire some people who know what trigger generators to shut down.
on January 5,2012 | 09:29AM
Cubsfan wrote:
Electricity goes out! The first power outage of the year. The over/under for this year is 20. I go way over. They don't answer their phone and no easy way to get a hold of them on-line. Easily the worst company in Hawaii, period!
on January 5,2012 | 09:37AM
mcc wrote:
Why do the politicians keep building and building when our infrastructure is crumbling. Our water mains are breaking every day, our sewerge is being trucked around and our dumps are full. Eletrical failures are more common and they have the nerve to ask us to cut back on water an d electric while the building goes on. Doesn't make too much sense to me.
on January 5,2012 | 10:01AM
kauai wrote:
Meanwhile HECO runs a public relations commercial with Jade Moon "interviewing" the CEO of HECO which tries to justify the high cost of electricity on this island. What a joke. The PUC goes along with HECO's de-coupling billing scheme, resulting in higher electric bills for the public. The PUC should change it's moniker to "MUC" (Monopoly Utilities Commission). I wonder how much HECO's CEO gets paid? He deserves it though; because he snookered the "MUC" into granting that "guaranteed profit margin" of a billing scheme that is "de-coupling". Wish I could have a guaranteed income.... Lucky we live Hawaii.
on January 5,2012 | 10:17AM
Sat wrote:
The message is so incredible in that it lacks any credibility. They think the public is so stupid as to be persuaded by such an idiotic message.
on January 5,2012 | 04:43PM
TheKagawas wrote:
If you go all the way to the top it's Constance Lau. President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries. According to Forbes SHE took home $6.5 Million in 2010. I wonder if her compensation for 2011 will scale parallel with the 50% rate increasefrom last year? Source: http://people.forbes.com/profile/constance-h-lau/2819
on January 5,2012 | 05:26PM
TheKagawas wrote:
President and CEO of HECO is actually that dick Rosenblum. He took home almost $2 Mil in 2010! http://people.forbes.com/profile/richard-m-rosenblum/106551
on January 5,2012 | 05:31PM
jusjoking wrote:
ask mark glick. the ad is the beginning of the shibai information to fund the under sea cable between islands. Sad to think heco's incompitence is the future of state energy plans. No problem though, we all get to share the cost of making a bigger prower structure monopoly for heco and or the merger of all power companies minus the kauai hui. NOT joking, spookily similar to the onset of rail on oahu.
on January 5,2012 | 05:27PM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
The story states "one of its power generation plants went offline", Do they know which one?
on January 5,2012 | 10:42AM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
Well I will answer my own question. NO! I(f the question of which plant went out first is still in doubt more than six hours after the outage started there is really cause for great concern.
on January 5,2012 | 03:11PM
pakeheat wrote:
Imagine getting STUCK on the ELEVATED RAIL in the middle of NOWHERE? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! LOL. wiliki, I hope you got your meds?
on January 5,2012 | 11:14AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Watch them blame the whales....
on January 5,2012 | 11:15AM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
Interesting that this is about the 3-4th outage in just the past 2 weeks with little/no explanation. And we're to pay even more for this unreliable service.
on January 5,2012 | 11:49AM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
The outages I'm talking about were all in Mililani, Getting tired of having to resetting clocks too!
on January 5,2012 | 11:50AM
lopelani wrote:
Wonder why they won't say which Plant caused the outage. Was it just one unit in their power plants or was it the entire plant(Waiau, Kahe, Honolulu, or CIP). This big shibai on TV with Robbie Alm and Jade Moon saying we need to get off of oil. It does not matter to HECo, all the revenue they collect is based on the cost of the oil that they purchase for their boilers. It is hard for us as consumers to save money when HECo tries every trick in the book to get more from the consumers. Decoupling is a good example of this. The last rate hike gave them this and higher rates. Wo even when we try to conserve our bills keep going up. Look at your electric bill and see where you were a year ago, using more electricity yet paying less. Fess up HECo, admit it, poor maintenance on your systems are causing these outages......
on January 5,2012 | 12:35PM
BarbChapin wrote:
It is had to believe all the power outages there have been in the last 6 months. That and the water system must be extremely old
on January 5,2012 | 01:13PM
Kalli wrote:
With the highest rates in the country you would think they had hired technicians and operators who could explain what happened, it's not exactly a mystery because someone screwed the pooch and doesn't want to fess up to it.
on January 5,2012 | 01:18PM
Sat wrote:
How many HECO spokespersons are there? There seems to be so many of them each time there is trouble with the system. Reminds me of the many city workers who surround the manhole watching one worker doing all the work. No wonder our electricity bills are so high as are the taxes we pay.
on January 5,2012 | 02:57PM
Wazdat wrote:
Glad I pay out of my a $ for my heco bill.
on January 5,2012 | 03:33PM
inlanikai wrote:
The question isn't which one tripped off first, it should be why did any one of them trip off at all. Incompetence, pure and simple.
on January 5,2012 | 03:47PM
mkboyds4 wrote:
I'am no engineer but it is obvious that what has caused this power outage is that it is once again time for Heco to ask for another rate hike .
on January 5,2012 | 04:36PM
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