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Electricity still out for 6,800 customers in Puna

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    In this photograph taken Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, a power pole snapped in half hangs over the road in the Puna Region of Hawaii island. Tropical Storm Iselle battered the Big Island last week, damaging homes, leveling trees and leaving thousands without power. The storm also prevented thousands from voting in a close U.S. Senate race. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)

About 8 percent of Hawaii island electricity customers are still without power days after Tropical Storm Iselle roared into the Puna district, Hawaii Electric Light Co. officials said Tuesday.

The company said it was making progress on restoring power. About 6,800 customers were still in the dark Tuesday, down from 8,100 Monday.

Still, preliminary estimates indicate that it could take up to three weeks to restore power to areas with the most significant damage, the company said.

“We understand many of our customers are still dealing with a very difficult situation. We are devoting every available resource to this effort. We have made progress and are committed to restoring power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Electrical line crews expect to make progress Tuesday in Hamakua, Upper Puna, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, and Hawaiian Paradise Park, he said. Crews will also be working in Leilani Estates and Nanawale. 

Crews from throughout the island, and from Oahu and Maui are working to restore power, the company said.

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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