Downtown Honolulu is plagued by another power outage

2024 June 18 CTY - Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by George F. Lee / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM A Hawaiian Electric crew at the intersection of King and Bethel Streets continued to work on restoring power to the downtown and Chinatown areas on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The blackout began on Monday night.

Hawaiian Electric repair crews continued to work overnight after a power outage shut down downtown Honolulu — the second disruption in less than a week to affect the area.

The outage, which resulted from underground power cables and equipment getting damaged in a fire Monday night, initially affected around 3,000 customers in the Chinatown area, Hawaiian Electric said. However, the utility said late Tuesday that its crews had made significant progress restoring power at 9:10 p.m. to 2,400 customers, and that the estimated time for the restoration of power to the remaining 600 customers is 6 p.m. today.


Hawaiian Electric said its crews would continue to work through the night and that they would rotate in shifts so the restoration work could continue until the repairs are complete and the service restored.

The utility said earlier in the day that the fire damage was “extensive and will require lengthy and complex repairs that need to be done in a restricted space below the street.”

“The fire burned four underground circuits, comprised of a total of 12 underground high-voltage cables, in the area between the intersection of King and Bethel streets and King and Alakea streets,” officials said in a news release.

The outage is the second in less than a week in the downtown-Chinatown area, after an outage most of Thursday affecting 900 customer accounts shut down traffic signals, office buildings, condominiums and government buildings including the state Capitol. Officials said that Thursday’s outage resulted “from a sequence of events that started at approximately 9:30 p.m.” June 12 with an outage in the area between Bishop and Mililani streets. The next day, equipment at the Iwilei substation “experienced an overload of power” that caused the broader outage.

Hawaiian Electric spokesperson Darren Pai said that “there’s nothing definitively tying the two (outages) together” at this point but that investigations are ongoing.

“The outages from last week and today were in different parts of downtown. They involve different circuits on the system, so they’re both kind of generally in the downtown area,” Pai said. “There’s nothing definitive at this point that indicates that they’re connected to each other.”

Pai said ransomware is not a possible factor behind the outages.

Scattered intersections throughout the downtown area were affected, according to the city Department of Transportation Services. Honolulu Police Department officers directed traffic at major intersections.

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