BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The number of people on the ground working to restore power in the Puna District has tripled. Hawaiian Electric crews and their equipment arrived Monday.
"We brought over trucks, poles, transformers, other types of equipment that was loaded onto a Young Brothers barge and brought over from Oahu," says Darren Pai, spokesman for HECO.
Those crews will begin work Tuesday morning after getting their equipment and being briefed.
Anxious customers, who've been without power since Thursday night when Iselle made landfall, crowd around a Hawaii Electric Light Co. representative to find out when their electricity will be restored.
HELCO officials have set up a Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches, near Keonepoko Elementary School. They're answering questions from the public, providing status updates and offering a free charging station. About 8,000 customers are still without electricity.
HELCO officials say they appreciate their customers patience as they work to get lines repaired as quickly and safely as possible. Utility poles and crews from Oahu have just arrived on Hawaii Island to assist.
Officials say the hardest hit areas are Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates and Kapoho. Those areas have been prioritized and crews are assessing the fastest way to complete repairs. HELCO officials say customers who are still without power at this time should expect an extended outage into the end of this week and, in some cases, much longer.