Watt Power? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

January 15, 2009

Watt Power?

On December 26 th and 27th, the power went out on Oahu for most people from 12- to 20-hours. It takes a long time (as we have now learned twice in the past two years) to slowly bring the power grid back up to make sure that the whole thing doesn't crash.  And yes, we understand that this is an island, and we simply can't borrow power from our next door neighbor.  We don't have one.

But let's hope that real solutions are realized in short order to make sure that IF a real emergency hits, that there can be a reasonable expectation of power recovery befitting a state in this country in the 21 st century.  While I don't pretend to understand the dynamics involved, and I know that there are myriad technical issues involved, we need to know what can be done, what it will cost, and how fast it can be built or installed for reasonable decisions to be made about viability and value.

We also need to make sure that officials provide clear and regularly updated information to radio and television stations- the major conduits to a confused and uncertain public.  How about guaranteed updates every half-hour, even if there is nothing new, because people deserve to know?  Anecdotal call-ins can help ease or add to the tension, but well-coordinated calls from people in the know at frequent intervals sure would have helped.  HECO deserves credit for having an on-sight spokesperson at one designated radio location, but information needs to get passed along quickly, as many stations used generators to stay on-air and keep people informed.  Plus, the Neighbor Islands had radio and TV coverage throughout those darkened hours on Oahu.  Hopefully, bright solutions will come out of this relatively minor rehearsal.  Think about it... 

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