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Oahu customers avoided blackouts by reducing energy use

No ‘rolling blackouts’ occurred Friday night after Hawaiian Electric Co. asked the public to conserve energy because of storm damage to power equipment.

On Friday afternoon, the utility asked its Oahu customers to conserve power between 5 and 9 p.m. because the lighting storm earlier that morning had damaged transmission lines that carry power from two wind generating units.

H-Power was among several generators that were also offline or operating at minimal output because of damage from rain or lightning, HECO said.

“If we were to lose another large generating unit during the peak hours we would be in an emergency situation and would have to begin brief rolling blackouts,” HECO spokesman Jim Kelly said in a news release.

Also photovoltaic systems were not producing much electricity due to overcast skies.

HECO asked customers to turn off or reduce their use of air conditioners, delay showers, laundry and dishwashing activities. It also recommended eating out or minimizing cooking until later Friday night.

Afterwards, HECO thanked the public in a tweet and said demand flattened out following the utility’s call for energy conservation.

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