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Kauai utility restores power after cancellation of red flag warning

Nina Wu

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said following the National Weather Service’s cancellation of the red flag warning, power has been restored to impacted members.

KIUC said power was restored after crews inspected lines in Kokee and Mahaulepu.

The electrical circuits serving Port Allen to Mana have also been returned to standard settings.

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The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has de-energized some of its electrical lines due to current red flag warning currently in effect.

KIUC, which operates as a not-for-profit organization owned by its members, announced that after 6 p.m. Wednesday, it de-energized the electrical line serving Kokee, affecting approximately 100 members in the Kokee and Makaha Ridge areas.

The cooperative also de-energized the line serving the Mahaulepu area, saying it impacted a very small number of members that had been contacted directly.

“Power will likely not be restored to this area until after the Red Flag Warning is rescinded and KIUC crews have inspected the lines to ensure they can be safely re-energized,” said KIUC in a notice.

The National Weather Service issued the red flag warning at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday for the leeward side of all Hawaiian isles due to the combination of gusty tradewinds up to 40 to 50 mph, low relative humidity, and dry fuels.

“Any fires that start will likely spread rapidly and be very difficult to control,” said the advisory. “Outdoor burning should be avoided altogether until these critical conditions end. It is important to note however, that the winds for this event WILL NOT be comparable in strength to the August 8, 2023 event, where wind gusts well over 60 mph were observed.”

KIUC, which is governed by an elected board of directors, also said electrical circuits serving Port Allen to Mana would be set to not automatically re-close. This means if power is lost on one or more of those circuits, areas served may not be restored until after the red flag warning is rescinded and crews have inspected the line.

The decisions are made by KIUC’s management personnel, according to the cooperative’s spokesperson Beth Amaro.

“This particular decision was made following field inspections that were conducted earlier in the week, our ongoing discussions with [Kauai Emergency Management Agency] since the Maui wildfire event, and an analysis of the details of the Red Flag Warning that was issued just before 4 p.m. yesterday,” said Amaro in an email.

KIUC said troubleshooters would also patrol leeward areas of the isle, and that additional actions may be taken if warranted. This morning, the NWS said the red flag warning remains in effect through 6 p.m. today.

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