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Construction for overhead power lines in West Oahu development prompt backlash from residents

HECO said it has temporarily paused construction so it can work with D.R. Horton to address community concerns.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 9:59 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:23 PM HST
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KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents in the new Hoopili community in Kapolei are upset after large steel poles began to sprout up in their neighborhoods — apparently without warning.

“We just figured, you know, this is a new development, a lot of new construction. Maybe something like that was going on related to our homes,” said Ho’opili homeowner Matt Morin.

He said he first noticed some parking areas being coned off, then large holes were dug. Eventually, steel poles appeared.

Morin found out that the poles are for 46 kilovolt lines that will transport power to a new substation.

Hawaiian Electric Company said the power lines are needed to meet the increased demand from the new homes.

“My fear was confirmed and that these high-voltage lines are going to go right behind our home, a feet from our kids’ bedrooms. I mean, it’s really close,” said Morin.

“We were just caught off guard. We weren’t notified at all,” said another homeowner, Russell Tupinio. “It would be nice if they notified us right at the beginning.”

Other residents claim they were promised that power lines would be placed underground.

“In the master plan, in the environmental impact statements and and everything they submitted to the state government, the county government, they showed that it was going to be underground. That’s what was approved,” said homeowner Kaniela Ing.

Meanwhile, developer D.R. Horton said putting the 46 kilovolt lines underground would cost $25 million.

In a statement the developer said:

D.R. Horton remains focused on finding solutions to address Hawaii’s housing shortage and keep homes as affordable as possible for local residents and their families. Overhead sub-transmission line extensions for the project were determined to be the most prudent option to achieve this goal.

In addition, a HECO spokesperson said they followed a clearly defined process for the project, including a virtual public meeting and a presentation before the Kapolei/Makakilo Neighborhood Board last October.

She said the PUC approved the overhead lines in November.

“We want them to underground it,” said Morin.

HECO said it has temporarily paused construction so it can work with D.R. Horton to address community concerns.

The utility and the developer are planning to meet with homeowners on Monday.

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