Kaneohe military families face lengthy mandatory power outages

Updated: Feb. 21, 2015 at 11:00 PM HST
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Scheduled power outage at Schofield
Scheduled power outage at Schofield

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Military families in Kaneohe are facing mandatory power outages which last up to 18.5 hours for several Saturdays from February to May. Marine Corps Base Hawaii says it is required "in order for Base Facilities to continue to meet the electrical demands of existing and future base facilities." But residents say they wish it were handled differently.

Danielle Emde is a mother of three. Her husband, a Marine, is away for military training on the mainland. She says the power outages are even harder to handle while he's away.

"Come nighttime routine is what we're dreading...baths, and bedtime and dinner. It's very expensive to go eat out," Emde said.

The first outage was on Valentine's Day scheduled from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the next day. Emde says luckily it didn't actually last that long, but there are still six more they need to get through from now until May 9th. Half of the blackouts will affect the entire base while the other half impacts the east side of the base.

Emde, along with other residents don't understand why work couldn't be done overnight, while residents are sleeping. So in the meantime, she says some people on base are buying generators, others are staying at hotels, or eating out each meal for those seven days. But for her, she says coolers, flashlights, and lanterns will have to do.

"I'm a breastfeeding mother and my breast milk is stored in the freezer and if it gets below a certain temperature, you have to toss it," said Emde.

"All of our food has definitely melted. So we'll have to plan to where we won't go grocery shopping and we don't buy things that will spoil," she said.

While residents at K-Bay understand the work is necessary, Emde says she just wishes it wasn't such a hassle.

"Food is expensive here. Even going out to eat would be an option, which is fine. However, three meals a day...3 kids...family of 5. But at least it's planned I suppose," Emde said.

"We'll be ok, but it's an inconvenience, definitely," she said.

Out at Schofield Barracks, residents are experiencing the same problem. Saturday, February 21, was the first of three scheduled power outages which affects housing units, health clinics, recreation, and dining facilities. Phone lines to the Schofield Barracks Police Station were down, so residents were asked to call 655-7114 instead. The blackout lasted from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The other power outages are scheduled for March and June.

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