State Still Assessing Blackout's Impact

Governor Linda Lingle
Governor Linda Lingle
Rod Haraga
Rod Haraga

(KHNL) -- Federal Emergency Management Agency workers are expected to start their preliminary earthquake damage assessment Tuesday morning. Also, the financial damage from the power outage that followed is still being tallied.

It appears the blackout caught everyone off-guard.

If it's any consolation, even the state's top officials were in the dark about Sunday's blackout that paralyzed Oahu.

"The feeling was this wouldn't be an all-day outage," Linda Lingle, Governor (R), said. "The earthquake wasn't here. There wasn't damage, physical damage to any of the systems."

"No one knew exactly how long the outage was going to be," Rod Haraga, state Department of Transportation, said. "We were hoping it would be a short one."

Now, the state is waiting for an explanation from Hawaiian Electric Company.

"What happened exactly and what we can anticipate happening in any future disruption," Lingle said.

Based on the information it receives, the Public Utilities Commission will decide whether to launch a formal investigation. The outage crippled operations at the Honolulu International Airport.

"We did the best we could notifying people and getting people to places they needed to go to," Haraga said.

State officials admit they haven't trained for this type of occurrence at Honolulu Airport.

"No, I don't believe we've looked for that particular scenario," Haraga said.

The state is still in the process of assessing the economic impact of the blackout.

"People for the most part yesterday acted with tremendous amounts of aloha toward each other," Lingle said. "And it made a very difficult situation livable."

The Governor says the most important issue right now is to get the major disaster declaration from Washington, D.C. She says the state should know by Tuesday morning.