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Grid geared up for hurricane season, Hawaiian Electric says

  • COURTESY HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. / 2016

    Crews have strengthened electric grids so that they are better able to withstand powerful storms, according to Hawaiian Electric, through the upgrade and reinforcement of poles, lines and equipment.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies said it has been working year-round to build more resilient grids ahead of the upcoming hurricane season, which begins on Saturday.

On Oahu, Maui County and the Big Island, crews have strengthened electric grids so that they are better able to withstand powerful storms, according to Hawaiian Electric through the upgrade and reinforcement of poles, lines and equipment.

Hawaiian Electric also spent nearly $17 million to clear trees and vegetation from around power lines and equipment last year, which it said resulted in fewer and briefer outages during storms.

The following is a list of of work done or planned for each area:

Oahu

>> Replaced wooden poles with eight steel poles at Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail above Waialae Iki. The new poles support high-voltage lines feeding Windward and East Oahu.

>> Upgraded infrastructure to improve system reliability in West and Central Oahu.

>>Hawaiian Electric is working with public agencies, volunteers and nonprofits to develop recovery strategies for some of the island’s most vulnerable areas.

Maui County

>> Continued upgrades of utility poles rated to withstand higher wind gusts.

>> Starting pilot installation of insulated power lines to reduce outages caused by falling trees and branches on conductors in forested areas of Upcountry Maui and East Molokai.

>> Planned installation of a new device called “Trip-Savers” in parts of Upcountry Maui. The devices are used on power lines to help isolate and protect the electrical system during outages.

Hawaii island

>> Installed “Trip-Savers” and similar devices on power lines to help isolate and protect the electrical system during outages.

>> Planned installation of tie-lines between circuits that provide quicker restoration options in the event of an interruption.

>> Continued collaboration with public agencies and community partners to promote emergency preparedness and hasten power restoration efforts following natural disasters.

With up to eight tropical cyclones forecasted for this season, Hawaiian Electric is also reminding customers to have emergency plans in place. The company’s Handbook for Emergency Preparedness is available at hawaiianelectric.com/prepare.

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