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Crews struggle to restore power on Hawaii island

    Neighbors and family of Lurline Milare, of Pahoa, surveyed the damage after two trees crashed into Milare's home Thursday night, destroying the home's parlor.
    Motorists navigated around downed power lines and fallen trees left in the wake of Hurricane Iselle on Kahaki Boulevard in Pahoa.
    Hurricane Iselle caused a tree to fall on the Pahoa home of Hawaii island residents Sid, Michelle and Evie Chacon.

HILO » Hawai’i Electric Light Co., which was trying to restore power to 17,200 customers on Friday in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle, urged all customer to cut down on power consumption.

"During the storm many trees fell and knocked down power lines and poles," HELCO spokeswoman Rhea Lee said in a statement. "Critical transmission lines on the east side of the island are out of service and we are unable to take generation from Hamakua Energy Partners and Puna Geothermal Venture. This has created a generation shortage."

"Extensive" transmission line damage was reported several areas and HELCO had reports of outages in several areas: Lower Puna including Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores and Kapoho; Mountain View to Namakani Paio Park; Portions of the Hamakua Coast including Waipunahina, Puueo Paku to Kaupakuea Homestead Road, Honomu, Hakalau, Papaaloa, Laupahoehoe, Ookala, lower Honokaa, Haina, Kukuihaele, Mauna Kea Ranch, Pohakea Mauka Road, Pohakealani Road, Paauilo Mauka, and Kaapahu Road; Pahala Town and surrounding area including Huapala Street, Hau Street, Ilima Street; and parts of Hinano and Maile Streets; Wood Valley; Kapapala Ranch; and parts of Kulani.

Hawaii island officials Friday were investigating reports of several homes that were damaged, including a roof that was blown off and windows destroyed at a home in Hawaiian Paradise Park in Puna; a home that burned down in Hilo that may have been related to the hurricane; a tree that fell into a house in the Hawaiian Acres private sub-division; and a roof that was blown off off a home in Hilo.

Denise Bailey, who lives in Orchildand in the Puna District, also told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that a tree smashed the roof of her neighbor’s house and another hit Bailey’s truck.

"Puna got hit real hard," Bailey said. "There’s a ton of telephone poles and wires down."

County officials said assessment teams were still in the field Friday and the cost from Iselle could grow.

A broken water main along Pohakea Mauka Road also affected customers from Ho’o Kahua Road to Pa’auilo Mauka Road who had little to no water pressure, according to water officials.

Repair were expected to take until Friday night.

With ongoing HELCO power issues, the Department of Water Supply reported low water tank levels in the Laupahoehoe water system in the Hamakua District.

Customers in Papa’aloa, Laupahoehoe and Waipunalei were asked to restrict water use to essential use only.

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