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About 6,300 HELCO customers still without power on Big Isle

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:52 p.m. HST, Aug 14, 2014

Hawaii Electric Light Co. said it restored service to another 1,400 customers Wednesday, but is still having trouble reducing the overall number of those without power as more outages are discovered or reported.

The company said Thursday that about 6,300 customers are without power islandwide, down 300 from the previous day.

HELCO said crews have identified previously unreported outages and that more affected customers have come forward to report being without power.

Officials said more than 200 workers from across the state are in the field restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 14 tree trimming crews, and 30 crews digging holes for utility poles. About 30 more crew members will be arriving. 

"We understand how difficult things are for our customers who are still without power, so we're grateful to have received so much support from across the state. We're working extremely hard to safely restore power as quickly as possible," said Darren Pai, HELCO spokesman.

"The magnitude of damage, especially concentrated in the Puna District, is greater than we've ever seen. Our preliminary estimate is that more than 200 utility poles and 130 transformers were damaged and need to be replaced," Pai said.

Electrical line crews expect to make progress Thursday in Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna.

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.

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