Hawaiian Electric Co. and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1260 have agreed to meet with a federal mediator tomorrow to try to resolve a heated contract dispute.
About 1,300 HECO employees struck yesterday afternoon, walking off the job as thousands of Oahu residents and businesses were still without power following weather-related outages earlier in the morning.
“We reached out to the union, asked if they’d meet tomorrow this afternoon, asking if they’d meet with us using the services of a federal mediator, and the union agreed,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.
The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the union’s Moiliili headquarters, Pai said.
“We want to reach an agreement with the union and we believe using the services of a third-party federal mediator gives us an opportunity to move the process forward,” he said.
IBEW officials could not be reached for comment.
The former contract expired on Oct. 31 but had been extended through Jan. 31 while negotiations continued.
Meanwhile, more than 1,700 Ewa Beach customers continue to be without power, Pai said. He said they should be prepared to go without electricity at least until morning.
They were among the more 6,000 Ewa Beach residents who lost power early yesterday morning and then had power restored about 3:30 a.m. today.
About 2,000 customers, however, lost their power again at about 6:30 a.m., Pai said.
“One of the circuits supplying power to a portion of Ewa Beach experienced a problem causing an outage which affected approximately 2,000 customers,” Pai said at about 10 a.m. “Management employees are working to restore their power as quickly as possible.”
About 300 of those customers again had their power restored mid afternoon, leaving about 1,700 without electricity.
Pai could not say where those outages were, but residents of West Loch and Ewa Villages said they were among those affected.
Several other “pockets” of Oahu also continued to be without power including portions of Kailua, Waimanalo and Waiawa, Pai said. “Those outages may involve a few homes or a portion of a neighborhood.”