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Maui Electric restored power atop Haleakala a month after storms


    Maui Electric crews worked seven days a week to bring a remaining pocket of commercial customers back online after a massive wind storm in February caused extensive damage to the electrical system atop Haleakala.

Maui Electric recently shared a video of crews restoring power to a small pocket of commercial customers at the Haleakala summit after strong winds, snow and ice caused extensive damage to electrical infrastructure.

On March 12, Maui Electric was able to restore the power about a month after the Feb. 10 snowstorm resulted in power outages and the closure of Haleakala National Park’s summit district. In addition to bringing snow and ice to unusually low elevations, the storm’s heavy rain and wind gusts brought down poles and damaged equipment across Maui.

Crews had to wait for the snow and ice atop Haleakala to melt before traveling to the summit to start damage assessments. Once they were finished, crews from Maui Electric and Hawaiian Electric worked seven days a week to bring the remaining commercial customers back online.

The work included the restringing of a mile of transmission and distribution lines, replacing and repairing equipment on 60 poles, and replacing 22 poles on the mountainous terrain. The poles and equipment had to be flown in or carried by workers who hiked in because the area is closed to vehicles.

“Thank you to our customers for their patience as we worked to make extensive repairs to the system atop Haleakala,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities in a news release. “This was a unique restoration process that included our crews working long hours at high altitudes with steep terrain and limited vehicle access.

She thanks other partners, as well, who assisted with helicopter deliveries and readying holes ahead of the installation of new poles.

“We also appreciate the support from Haleakala National Park, Haleakala Ranch and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources which helped us to secure staging areas and access to the work sites,” she said.

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