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Power restored after outages affect Oahu, Maui and Molokai residents

A day after equipment failures prompted rotating power outages for some 26,000 customers, Hawaii Electric Light said Sunday that residents can again expect uninterrupted service during peak hours.

On Saturday afternoon, a combustion turbine unit at the Keahole plant shut down due to problems with its water system. Two hours later, fuel system problems caused another combustion turbine unit at Keahole to shut down.

The failures were compounded by the unavailability of other power sources. A steam turbine unit owned by Hamakua Energy Partners, an independent power producer, was undergoing repairs; another HELCO combustion turbine was also being overhauled and was not available; and a Puna steam unit was on standby status and could not be started in time.

In addition, wind and hydroelectric resources were not available, according to HELCO.

HELCO crews spent much of today and Saturday repairing a combustion turbine at its Kanoelehua facility, returning the unit to service three days ahead of schedule. Crews also repaired one of the Keahole units and activated the Puna steam generator.

“We want all of our customers to know we are truly sorry for disruption caused by (Saturday’s) power interruptions,” HELCO spokesperson Rhea Lee-Moku said in a statement released today. “Crews worked hard to repair generation units to get them back on-line, but we just weren’t able to make it in time. We apologize for not providing earlier notice, but we’d hoped to be able to close the gap and tried to get the word out, including using social media, as soon as possible.”

The daily evening peak usage period is from 5 to 9 p.m., with the highest demand between 6 and 8:00 p.m.

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