Question: I was off island for a month and was surprised to see a telephone pole in the middle of the right-turn lane off Kalakaua Avenue onto Ena Road when I returned. The city paved around the pole, which makes the lane unusable. Neighbors tell me it’s been like this for weeks. Is HECO to blame?
Answer: Hawaiian Electric Co. says it’s not to blame, but spokesman Peter Rosegg helped track down the story behind the stranded pole.
According to HECO engineers, City Ordinance 2412 required the developer of Allure Waikiki to make certain road improvements to build its building.
That entailed rounding the corner at Kalakaua and Ena Road, and moving the sidewalk in about 10 feet, leaving the old pole standing in the new lane. In March, HECO relocated its lines to a pole in the new sidewalk area.
"The way the joint pole agreement among utilities works is that whichever utility is the last to remove its lines from an old pole is responsible for removing the old pole," Rosegg said.
It’s now Hawaiian Telcom’s responsibility. But it’s not that simple a task, said spokeswoman Ann Nishida Fry.
The new pole, installed by HECO, is too far out of alignment with four existing poles on Ena Road to accommodate telecommunication facilities and requires anchored guy-wires that aren’t feasible there, she said. That forced Hawaiian Telcom to construct alternate facilities underground.
New underground cables have been installed, and the company is currently transferring about 2,700 active lines.
Technicians need to complete and test about 5,400 individual splices before the existing pole and overhead lines can be taken out of service.
The work is subject to traffic and weather conditions. Workers also cannot work before 8:30 a.m. and after 3 p.m., and any water in the manholes affects daily progress, Nishida Fry said.
"Our crews are also working on Saturdays to speed the completion, but splicing this many cable pairs is complex and painstaking work," she said.
Barring any new complications, the work, including removal of the pole, is expected to be completed by the end of August. Hawaiian Telcom also will fill in the holes and pave the roadway.
Question: Where can we call to report a potential fire hazard due to a problem with power lines? I cannot find a number to report this. Along Moanalua Loop in Aiea, there are numerous trees that touch the power lines. In addition, there are several areas where vegetation is actually growing on the lines.
Answer: Call HECO’s vegetation management line at 543-7836 or customer service at 548-7311.
Electrical lines generally are the top lines on a utility pole that may also have telephone and cable lines.
Question: I received the Application for Permanent Absentee Voter Ballot, which says to mail the application back no earlier than 60 days and no later than seven days prior to the election. What are those dates? My elderly mother sent in her application as soon as she received the form, and it was returned to her because it was too early. I’m sure many people did the same.
Answer: The primary election this year is Sept. 18, and the general election is Nov. 2.
So the earliest you can return the application is today, and the latest is Sept. 11 for the primary and Oct. 26 for the general election, according to the state Elections Office. Go to hawaii.gov/elections for more information.