HELCO warns lower Puna residents of possible power interruptions

Hawaii Electric Light Co. is warning customers that power interruptions are likely if lava continues to advance toward Highway 132.

The company has been monitoring lava activity and is ready to implement its plans to perform planned switching to reroute power to customers in the lower Puna areas. This work will begin at about 3 p.m. today, but may occur sooner if conditions change, the utility said in a written statement.

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During switching operations, customers in the following areas will experience a power interruption for about one hour:

• Leilani Estates

• Kamaili Road

• Kalapana and surrounding communities including Black Sands Beach, Kalapana Seaview Estates, Kehena Beach, and Puna Beach Palisades

• Nanawale Estates and Nanawale Farm Ranch

• Tangerine Acres

• Pahoa High and Intermediate School

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The areas in and around Kapoho will experience an extended power outage if lava breaches Highway 132, the company said and warned that power won’t be restored in the Kapoho area until a full assessment can be completed and alternative plans to serve this area are implemented, once it is safe for company personnel to do so.

“Hawai‘i Electric Light appreciates its customers’ patience and understanding,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, company spokesperson. “The switching work is being completed as a precaution to minimize the duration of power interruptions in the event utility equipment is impacted by lava.”

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