All power restored to customers after rolling outages

All power restored to customers after rolling outages
Published: Jan. 12, 2015 at 8:51 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2015 at 10:56 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rolling blackouts rolled through Oahu neighborhoods Monday night affected 27,000 Hawaiian Electric customers between 6:15 and 7:45 p.m.

Nuuanu, Pacific Heights and parts of Kalihi were first to experience the outages, which lasted about an hour.

After power was restored to those customers, people in parts of Hawaii Kai, Waialae Iki, Aina Haina, Niu Valley, Kuliouou and Waimanalo were next.  The outages there lasted about half an hour.

"It was an incredible game, and I'm really bummed that the power went out," said one man who was trying to watch college football's first ever national championship game. He and his friends were forced to listen to it on the car radio near flashlights and lanterns.

"I've heard of rolling blackouts on the mainland, but you know, I didn't think we were susceptible in Hawaii," says Bruce Kim, another customer.

Hawaii Electric says the rolling blackouts were necessary because of a combination of problems.

"The largest generating unit on the system, operated by a different company went out unexpectedly," says Darren Pai, spokesman for HECO, "That created the situation where we didn't have enough power to meet demand on the system."

Plus, the Kalaeloa Power Plant was already undergoing repair work and therefore providing less than half its maximum output.

Hawaiian Electric says it is working with the independent power producer, AES, to get the units back up.

"We're looking into that with the company that operates this generating unit. we want to make sure we address this problem, get it corrected (and) get them back in service," says Pai.

HECO is asking customers to conserve power, especially during the peak times of 5 and 9 p.m., to avoid more rolling blackouts Tuesday. However, HECO said there's a possibility more rolling outages could take place.

Here's the timeline of events:

[Update 8:30 p.m.]

At approximately 7:45 p.m., HECO reported that all power was restored to all customers in the area from Waialae Iki through Hawaii Kai and portions of Waimanalo. Any customers in these areas who are still without power should call Hawaiian Electric's trouble line at 1-855-304-1212.

An estimated 27,000 customers were affected by the rolling outages, but no more than 14,000 at one time. 

HECO reports they do not expect to initiate any further outages at this time.

[Update 7:45 p.m.]

HECO says power in Hawaii Kai and Laukahi, sections of Waimanalo, Waialae Iki Aina Haina, Niu Valley, and Kuliouou will be back up shortly.

[Update 7:30 p.m.]

HECO says all power has been restored to customers in Downtown, Nuuanu, Kalihi Valley, and Pacific Heights area. Customers in Hawaii Kai and Laukahi, sections of Waimanalo, Waialae Iki Aina Haina, Niu Valley and Kuliouou are out of power.

HECO is advising anyone who is still without power in the Nuuanu-School street area to call Hawaiian Electric's trouble line at 1-855-304-1212. 

[Update 7:20 p.m.]

HECO says Downtown and Nuuanu customers should have power again shortly. Customers in Hawai Kai and sections of sections of Waimanalo, Aina Haina & Kuliouou should prepare for power outages. 

[Update 6:25 p.m.]

Hawaiian Electric begins tonight's rolling outages.

HECO says Nuuanu-School Street area are currently out of power and the outage will last about an hour.

[Update 6:18 p.m.]

Hawaiian Electric says it will implement rolling outages to prevent larger outages on Oahu tonight.

Hawaiian Electric tweeted at 6:15 p.m., "Please help us delay the rolling outages by conserving energy. We're getting close to initiating but you can help us delay. Mahalo." 

[Update 6 p.m.]

First outage delayed to 6 p.m.:  Nuuanu-School Street area, all of Hawai'i Kai, sections of Waimanalo & Kahala scheduled for outage at around 6 pm. 

Hawaiian Electric tweeted:  "So far so good. Mahalo for helping us. Pls cont to conserve energy so we can delay the rotating outages."

[Update 5:10 p.m.]

Hawaiian Electric says it will likely implement rolling outages to prevent larger outages on Oahu. HECO says system operators will evaluate the demand for electricity and based on that, will determine the exact start time and whether all of the noted areas will be affected.

Below is the planned rolling outage schedule (times are approximate).  

5 to 6 p.m. 

Nuuanu-School Street area, all of Hawai'i Kai, sections of Waimanalo and Kahala

6 to 7 p.m.

Most of Waipahu, sections of Pearl City, Kunia, Ewa Beach, Waiawa, Crestview, sections of Mililani

7 to 8 p.m.

Pearl City, Waimalu, Waialua, Kuilima

[Original story posted below]

The loss of several generating units, including the largest on the island operated by independent power producer AES, required Hawaiian Electric to briefly shut off power for about 10 minutes to about 22,000 customers at approximately 1:50 p.m. 

Hawaiian Electric says the targeted emergency outages were necessary to avoid a more widespread outage or damage to the electric system from an imbalance of too much demand versus too little available generation.

The outages affected customers in areas across the island, including Kailua, Kaneohe, Maunawili, Wailupe, Halawa, Makalapa, Waipahu, and Waimano. Power to most affected customers was restored shortly after 2 p.m.

The outage occurred after a 180-megawatt power plant operated by AES, an independent power producer, unexpectedly went out of service. In addition, the Kalaeloa Power Plant, also owned and operated by an independent power producer, has been providing less than half its maximum output of 208 megawatts as it goes through repairs for an equipment problem. 

One of Hawaiian Electric's generating units at the Kahe Power Plant, which normally produces 135 megawatts, is also off line after it unexpectedly experienced problems this morning.

Due to the loss of generation, Hawaiian Electric says it may need to initiate rolling outages starting at approximately 5 p.m. 

The outages would last approximately one hour and rotate through various parts of the island.  

Hawaiian Electric is asking O'ahu customers to conserve electricity use this evening, especially between 5 and 9 p.m. 

HECO says the precaution is intended to ensure sufficient power is available to meet the early evening peak demand for electricity. 

Suggested steps include turning off or lessening use of air conditioners, delaying hot showers and dishwashing activities, and minimizing cooking until later in the evening.

"We apologize for this disruption and thank our customers for their patience. We understand the evening hours, especially today with the football game, are an especially inconvenient time to cut back on electricity, but with everyone's help we hope to avoid an emergency situation," said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesperson.

Hawaiian Electric is also asking its larger commercial customers to voluntarily reduce electricity usage. System operators will also work on further reducing the demand for power by using Hawaiian Electric's demand response programs. These voluntary programs help lower the overall use of electricity by reducing the energy output of certain appliances or equipment, such as water heaters, for participating residential customers and non-essential lighting and heating or cooling systems for participating commercial customers.

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