PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - HELCO officials have restored power to another 1,300 customers who've been without electricity since Iselle slammed the Puna district last week Thursday. Electrical line crews from all over the state are working on repairs -- including West Hawai'i, O'ahu & Maui. Officials say contract crews have also been hired to dig holes for new utility poles & tree trimmers to clear fallen trees.
According to HELCO representatives, crews expect to make progress in the following areas today: Hamakua, Upper Puna, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches & Hawaiian Paradise Park.
Officials say there are pockets throughout the Puna district where the damage is so severe that customers should be prepared for an extended outage. Their preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks to restore power to areas with the most significant damage, and in some cases even longer.
"We understand many of our customers are still dealing with a very difficult situation. We are devoting every available resource to this effort. We have made progress and are committed to restoring power as quickly as possible," said Hawai'i Electric Light spokesperson Darren Pai.
A Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage and a charging station is available. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.