Outage causes business blackout in Ewa

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

EWA (HawaiiNewsNow) – When utility poles fell knocking out electricity in Ewa Friday local commerce came to a crashing halt. Most stores at the Ewa Town Center were forced to close.

Jamba Juice, the Mobi cell phone and internet store, Supercuts, Long's Drugs, a nail salon, a dentist's office, and American Savings Bank all locked their doors.

"We come here to pay the bills, but the bank closed, so we going to Waipahu. Waipahu is open," said Ewa Beach resident Sonny Villon after finding American Savings Bank was closed.

A few shops and restaurants managed to stay open. L & L Drive Inn, for example, was open. It uses gas instead of electricity to power its stove. Taste of Hong Kong restaurant also uses gas, and while it did not close customers stayed away perhaps not know it was open.

"Today is a Friday. Supposed to be a little bit busy. And now shut down the power.

I think it's a loss of maybe 70 percent," said Michael Wu, manager at Taste of Hong Kong.

Dean Hashimoto fired up a generator to power his seed and snack shop, Ewa Seed Company. A few customers trickled in, but he estimated business was down about 90 percent.

"They are assuming that we are closed because everybody else around us is closed. We only got our generator going so I can save my Ice Cream. That's the only reason I'm here," Hashimoto told Hawaii News Now.

The wind knocked the poles down overnight, but Hashimoto did not lose power at his store until between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. The time difference has him thinking human error at HECO may have caused the outage. If that is the case, Hashimoto said he may file a claim against HECO for lost revenue.

"I know this is not an act of god. This might be like a mistake or something by them. Somebody threw a wrong switch or something," Hashimoto told Hawaii News Now.

Everyone at Ewa Town Center had the same question. When is the power coming back. It is a question that not even HECO can answer with confidence.

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