Chinatown businesses worry about financial hit from planned power outages

Chinatown businesses worry about financial hit from planned power outages

CHINATOWN (HawaiiNewsNow) - HASR Bistro on Pauahi St. canceled an event and won't be able to operate Thursday night after getting word of a planned power outage in Chinatown.

Owner Terry Kakazu says it's up to a $10,000 loss.

"So it's almost a year in planning and they just dropped a letter that they are going to shut us down at 7 p.m. on Thursday ... and that's going to cost me a lot of money," Kakazu said.

Hawaiian Electric will be upgrading its electrical distribution system, which includes replacing poles, stringing lines and road closures.

In mid-July, HECO notified a dozen customers about an outage set for Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The second outage will be on on Thursday, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., and affect 150 businesses and residential customers.

"We tried as much as possible to give advanced notice. We canvassed the area mid-July. We also made phone calls," said Shannon Tangonan, HECO spokeswoman.

HECO says the work is needed to expand capacity for the growing area and scheduled the outages and road closures between busy graduation season and the September festival season.

"There's no good time, unfortunately, to have this outage," she added.

But others say it could have been planned better.

"This is not an emergency. They should plan it better and give more notice," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of Chinatown Community and Business Association

Workers at Char Hung Sut arrive at the manapua shop at 2 a.m. to make pork hash and manapua, but the business runs on gas and it has a generator to keep a giant mixer running.

They'll be open and trying to make the best of things.

"It is kind of upsetting, but we don't have a choice. There's nothing we can do," said Jill Jakahi, of Char Hung Sut.

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