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Maui schools scheduled to reopen tomorrow after power outage forces 14 of them to cancel classes

UPDATE: 4:12 p.m.

All impacted schools are scheduled to reopen tomorrow, according to Department of Education spokesperson Nanea Kalani.

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

While the root cause of this morning’s outage remains unknown, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission offered a preliminary explanation. “The initial report is that a flashover occurred at Ma’alaea Power Plant,” the PUC Chair Leo Asuncion said in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Without additional information on the root cause that triggered the event at Ma’alaea Power Plant early this morning, the PUC is not in a position to comment further,” Asuncion said.

A flashover, or arc flash, occurs when an electrical current leaves “its intended path,” traveling through the air between conductors, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Built in 1971, the Ma’alaea Power Plant houses 21 of the county’s 46 power generation units and can power 80 percent of the island’s energy demand, the Maui News reported.

A generator at the power plant tripped on Jan. 20, cutting power to about 7,200 customers for less than an hour, multiple outlets reported at the time.

The Maui County Service Center in Kahului, except for its Transient Accommodations Tax Office, regained internet and phone service as of noon today, according to a news release from Brian Perry, a spokesperson for Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. All Division of Motor Vehicle and Licensing offices are now accepting transactions, according to the release.

Hawaiian Electric Co. crews were still working to restore power in Central Maui, Haiku and Upcountry as of 11:35 a.m., the company tweeted.

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Hawaiian Electric Co. has restored power to “a majority of customers on Maui,” but an estimated 100 customers in Kahului remain without power after this morning’s power outage, the company tweeted at 10:21 a.m.

Sixty-five thousand customers of Hawaiian Electric lost power this morning, according to a news release from Brian Perry, a spokesperson for Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. The outage has affected numerous county departments that oversee the water supply and county services like utilities, and the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing.

The Maui County Department of Water Supply asked residents to conserve water since its electrical pumps lost power, according to the release. The Maui County Service Center lost phone and internet connectivity but is still accepting property tax and utility payments in cash or check and writing receipts by hand, according to the news release. The Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing cannot service customers, and its offices in Lahaina and Pukalani are also closed due to the power outage.

Maui Police Department officers are conducting traffic where traffic lights lost power which could create delays, Victorino said in the release.

“The cause of the outage is still being assessed,” Perry wrote in the release.

Power was restored to customers in South Maui as of 8:30 a.m. Crews are continuing to respond to outages in other areas.

Fourteen schools on Maui will be closed today due to a power outage affecting customers across the island.

The outage started at about 2:45 a.m., leaving thousands of customers in the dark.

According to Hawaiian Electric, crews are working to restore power to customers in Upcountry, West Maui and East Maui including Paia and Haiku.

As of 7:30 a.m. today, power has been restored to parts of Lahaina and a majority of customers in Central Maui and South Maui.

The following schools are closed today:

West Maui:

King Kamehameha III Elementary

Princess Nahienaena Elementary

Lahaina Intermediate

Lahainaluna High

Upcountry Maui:

Haiku Elementary

Iao Intermediate

Pukalani Elementary

Kula Elementary

Kalama Intermediate

Makawao Elementary

King Kekaulike High

Central/North Maui:

Pomaikai Elementary

Paia Elementary

Wailuku Elementary

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