Lightning causes power outages on Hawaii Island

Release Date: 4/15/2018

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HILO, April 15, 2018 - Hawaii Electric Light reports that customers in north and east Hawaii experienced power outages caused by thunderstorms impacting Hawaii Island this weekend.

About 2,100 customers in north Kohala experienced an extended power outage Saturday evening. The outage began at about 5:40 p.m. and was necessary to allow crews to make temporary repairs to two transmission poles on Kohala Mountain Road that were damaged by lightning.

During the power restoration process, equipment at the Waimea Switching Station unexpectedly malfunctioned, causing an extended outage. Personnel worked through the night to make repairs and power was restored to most customers at 12:36 a.m. early this morning. Some customers in the Hawi area had their power restored at 3:00 a.m. The cause of the malfunction is under investigation.

Lightning strikes also caused brief outages lasting a few seconds that affected an additional 9,900 customers in Puna and Hilo early Sunday morning. Crews are currently working to restore power to small pockets of customers who remain without power due to downed lines and equipment damaged by lightning strikes.

"We'd like to thank the community for their patience as our employees work to safely restore power as quickly as possible," said Rhea Lee-Moku, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson. "The inclement weather has caused delays as it's unsafe for our crews to work when there is lightning in the area."

The National Weather Service forecasts showers, thunderstorms, and windy conditions to continue in most areas of Hawaii Island today. Lightning strikes and fallen trees may cause power interruptions. Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, as they can be energized and dangerous.

To report an outage or downed power line, please call 969-6666. Outage and restoration updates are available on the company's Twitter account @HIElectricLight.